Physical Health and Education - Goals and Rationale


Physical and Health Education (PHE) is designed to develop educated citizens who have the knowledge, skills, and understandings they need to be safe, active, and healthy citizens throughout their lives. PHE curriculum focuses on competencies that support life-long learning—competencies that can contribute to personal lives and career aspirations.

PHE emerges from two areas of learning, physical education and health education, that are brought together in order to promote and develop all aspects of well-being. The PHE curriculum is strongly linked to the personal awareness and responsibility core competency. The personal awareness and responsibility competency addresses the skills, strategies and dispositions that help students to stay healthy and active, set goals, monitor progress, regulate emotions, respect their own rights and the rights of others, manage stress and persevere in difficult situations.

Physical education focuses on the development of physical literacy, which will contribute to building the competence and confidence students will need to participate in a variety of activities and environments, including both indoor and outdoor activities, throughout their lives, whether they are playing sports, dancing, engaging in recreational activities, or walking to work. Health education focuses on the development of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and beliefs related to health literacy and encompasses a number of important health and safety topics, including nutrition, prevention of illness and injury, decision-making skills, healthy relationship skills, mental well-being, sexual health, and substance use. Bringing together components of both physical and health education complements First Peoples perspectives and worldviews that recognize the importance of balancing all components of well-being to maintain a healthy and safe way of life.

An underlying principle of the PHE curriculum is that students must be active in creating, assessing, and applying what they learn to their daily lives. Simply giving students opportunities to be physically active and providing information about health and safety is not enough to have a long-lasting effect on behaviour. It can actually be counterproductive if it causes students to focus on their perceived weaknesses and develop a negative view of PHE. PHE offers opportunities for learning in a wide range of environments with a variety of activities, including dance, games, and sports. Students have an array of different interests, abilities, perspectives, and goals, and responding to these will encourage the development of positive behaviours that make sense to students and that are sustainable for life.

The focus on lifelong safety, physical activity, and health is valuable for both the individual student and for society as a whole. The knowledge, skills, and competencies developed in PHE will help students improve their physical health and will promote mental and emotional well-being. Knowing how to respond to discrimination and bullying promotes fairness, healthy relationships, and active, responsible citizenship. Some topics within PHE must be approached with sensitivity and care, because of their personal nature and connections to family, religious, or cultural values.

Physical activity and other healthy choices can help reduce the occurrence of preventable illnesses and rates of harmful substance use and contribute to cognitive development. Even when made early, choices can have consequences that affect people positively or negatively for the rest of their lives. It is therefore important that students be able to access and analyze information, in order to make informed choices that affect their health and well-being. Both the individual and society benefit when citizens are healthier and happier and make personally and socially responsible choices.


The BC Physical and Health Education curriculum contributes to students’ development as educated citizens through the achievement of the following goals. Students are expected to

  • develop an understanding of the many aspects of well-being, including physical, mental, and social
  • develop the movement knowledge, skills, and understandings needed for lifelong participation in a range of physical activities
  • develop knowledge, skills, and strategies for building respectful relationships, positive self-identity, self-determination, and mental well-being
  • demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and strategies needed to make informed decisions that support personal and community health and safety