The Effectiveness of the Canadian Quality Daily Physical Education Program on School Physical Education

By Chad, K. E.; Humbert, M. L. et al. | Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, March 1999 | Go to article overview

The Effectiveness of the Canadian Quality Daily Physical Education Program on School Physical Education


Chad, K. E., Humbert, M. L., Jackson, P. L., Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport


School physical education programs are thought to have the potential to make a unique contribution to the education of all learners and may facilitate cognitive, social, emotional and physical development (Calfas & Taylor, 1994; Fishburne & Haslam, 1992; Keays, 1993). In the past, the major emphasis most physical education programs has been on competitive sports. Recently, however, the educational system has begun to shift its orientation to a health focus; the adoption of health-related physical activity goals. This change in focus is supported by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (1997) which recently developed guidelines for school and community programs to help young people establish lifelong, healthy physical activity patterns.

Although the importance of regular physical activity on health and well being has been well documented (Berlin & Colditz, 1990; Sallis & MacKenzie, 1991), schools that offer daily physical education programs are a minority. Increasing the school boards' and individual schools' commitment to physical education thus remains a major challenge. The question that remains, therefore, is how do we change existing practices in the schools with respect to including daily physical education programs? In light of this challenge, some countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, and the United States, have developed national initiatives which have striven to increase the amount of time devoted to quality physical education programs in schools. One such initiative is the Canadian Quality Daily Physical Education (QDPE) program which was developed in 1986 by the Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CAHPERD), with the support of Fitness Canada (CAHPERD, 1989).

The goal of the QDPE program is to provide quality physical education for Canadian children. QDPE is based on planned programs of instruction and activity for all students on a daily basis throughout the entire school year. The criteria for a quality program is one that: (1) includes daily physical activity; (2) identifies and meets the needs of children and youth; (3) nurtures positive attitudes toward activity; (4) is taught by qualified, enthusiastic, well prepared teachers; (5) has adequate equipment and facilities; (6) has meaningful content and a sound process; (7) incorporates a fitness component; (8) has an appropriate level of competition; and (9) has strong administrative support (CAHPERD, 1997). Although the goal of QDPE is achieved mainly through the instruction of physical education classes, intramural activities and interschool sports are also considered essential ways to deliver and implement a QDPE program.

The four components of the QDPE program include: awareness, implementation, recognition, and research and evaluation. The awareness component involves the development and delivery of resources and workshops directed toward parents, teachers, principals, school boards, ministry of education officials, service clubs, and related groups to obtain support and endorsement of the QDPE program. A national director is responsible for developing resources and providing training for awareness workshops to provincial and territorial volunteer chairs and their leaders. These individuals then distribute the QDPE resource materials and provide awareness workshops in their communities.

The QDPE chairs and leaders play an integral role in the second component of the program - the implementation phase. They act as resource personnel to assist teachers and principals in implementing quality daily physical education in their schools. These groups work together to address issues essential to implementing a QDPE program, such as accessibility of facilities, developmentally appropriate equipment, equitable scheduling of classes, and meaningful program content.

The third component of the QDPE program is recognition, and it involves a coordinated effort between the national director and the provincial and territorial chairs and leaders. …

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