For some students, the school provides the first opportunity for students to participate in organized sport competition as a learning experience. The Ontario Curriculum 2015 - Health and Physical Education, emphasizes that within the context of a healthy school, the health and physical education curriculum provides all students with the skills and strategies they need to participate in a wide variety of activities which support students’ physical and mental health. A supportive school environment will endeavour to provide organized and competitive activities through an interschool sports program.
The District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) believes that the elementary interschool athletic program can provide an appropriate level of competition and encourage healthy active participation at the school level. The students should focus on the development of movement competence, positive attitude, sportsmanship and social skills in a safe, nonthreatening, and enjoyable setting. As the students grow and their movement skills improve, increased challenges and competition can be provided, including Area and District-wide events. The operating framework and school support for the Elementary Interschool Athletics program is outlined in the DSBN Elementary Interschool Athletics Resource Manual and the Ontario Safety Guidelines produced by OPHEA. Both documents include guidelines to be followed regarding safety and supervision by teachers as coaches, teachers acting as coach-liaison, and by volunteer coaches.
A wide range of sports are offered, although we recognize that opportunities vary within the DSBN. Some sports will be centrally organized and supported by School Support Services, while some are organized by area-teacher volunteers. Area autonomy recognizes the importance of geographic and school community interests. Furthermore, individual schools are encouraged to make site-based decisions regarding participation in each activity that is offered in the Elementary Interschool Athletic program. This allows each school to provide a program that best suits the students’ and the community’s needs throughout the DSBN.