The Health and Physical Education (HPE) curriculum helps students learn the skills and knowledge they need to lead healthy, active lives and make healthy and safe choices.

There are four parts to the curriculum:

  • Healthy Living
  • Active Living
  • Movement Competence
  • Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Skills.

The learning for each is summarized below, along with some things you can do help to support your child's learning.

Healthy Living (including Mental Health Literacy)

Students learn how to solve problems, make decisions and set goals that are directly related to their own health and well-being. As they explore health concepts and learn how to make healthy choices, students make connections between themselves and the world around them. While mental health literacy is a distinct topic, students learn how mental health is connected to overall health across this entire section and the whole HPE curriculum.

Healthy Living: Key Learning in Grade 4
Area of FocusWhat Students Learn About
Healthy eating


Personal eating habits

Healthier eating in various settings

Personal safety and
injury prevention

Safe use of technology (online safety)

Bullying, abuse and non-consensual behaviour (consent)

Decision making — assessing risk

Substance use, addictions
and related behaviours

Tobacco and vaping

Decisions about smoking and vaping

Short- and long-term effects of smoking and vaping

Human development and sexual health

Puberty — physical changes; emotional and social impact

Puberty — personal hygiene and care

Mental health literacy

Making healthy choices to support mental health

Stress management (cognitive, behavioural)

Active Living

Through active participation, students build a foundation for lifelong healthy active living while learning what makes physical activity enjoyable.

Active Living: Key Learning in Grade 4
Area of FocusWhat Students Learn About
Active participation

Participation in a variety of activities

Enjoyment of activity (individual, small-group)

Factors that motivate or challenge participation in daily physical activity

Physical fitness

Daily physical activity — moderate to vigorous activity, 20 minutes per day, including warm-up and cool down

Physical activity effect on physical and mental health

Self-assessment of exertion (for example, checking how they feel during physical activity)

Developing and acting on personal physical activity goals


Behaviours and procedures that maximize safety of self and others

Prevention of accidents and injuries, including concussions

Movement Competence

Through exploration and participation in a variety of activities, students develop skills, strategies and tactics for moving while building confidence in their own physical abilities.

Movement Competence: Key Learning in Grade 4
Area of FocusWhat Students Learn About
Movement skills
and concepts

Transitioning from one balance to another, using different body parts (for example, one-leg stand to tripod stand)

Jumping and moving with control

Sending (for example, throwing, kicking), receiving (for example, stopping, catching) objects, and retaining (for example, dribbling, stick handling) objects

Movement strategies

Understanding the rules and practising the skills needed to participate in a variety of activities

Identifying common features and strategies of various physical activities and using tactics to increase success (for example, accuracy in target games)

Social-Emotional Learning Skills (taught across the HPE curriculum)

This new section of the curriculum helps students foster their own overall health and well-being, positive mental health, resilience and ability to learn and thrive. Students develop social-emotional learning skills to help them with identifying and managing emotions, coping with stress, having positive motivation, building relationships, deepening their sense of self and thinking critically and creatively.

Students apply these everyday skills as part of their learning across the other three parts of the curriculum, and in their experiences at school, at home and in the community.

Social-Emotional Learning Skills: Examples of Learning in Grade 4
Skills inExamples of What Students Learn to Do
Healthy Living

Describe how knowing about the physical and emotional changes that come with puberty can help them cope with those changes when they occur [coping with stress]

Explain what they can do to avoid saying something in a text or on social media that they wouldn't say face to face [building relationships]

Active Living

Recognize that a person's mental health can have an impact on their desire to try hard when being physically active [positive motivation]

Describe steps to avoid injury while being physically active [thinking critically]

Movement Competence

Take a breath or a quick “time out” to manage emotions such as frustration and excitement when playing games in small groups [managing emotions]

Identify skills that they can perform with confidence, and skills that are more challenging for them [sense of self]

Supporting your child's learning

Parents and schools both have important roles in supporting student learning and well-being. Here are some ways to help:

  • Help your child find a physical activity that they love and feel good doing. Physical activity can help manage stress, which sometimes comes with puberty.
  • Have a conversation with your child about the different forms of bullying and how to respond (for example, by talking to a trusted adult). See Bullying: We Can All Help Stop It (available in English, French and many other languages) for more information on types of bullying and how to prevent it.
  • Develop healthy eating habits by planning and eating meals together.