Doing What’s Best for Kids

General Administration AP 164: Health Promoting School Environment


The Division is committed to ensuring every school creates safe and healthy school communities for students and staff that facilitate health and wellness, and promote healthy lifestyle choices. We are committed to utilizing a comprehensive school health framework to foster the holistic development of health and well-being, and support students and staff in forming a positive relationship with their own wellness. Implementing a comprehensive school health framework includes promoting wellness through teaching and learning, the various partnerships and services that support the school, the social and physical environment promoting consistent health messaging, and the procedures within a school. Schools will prioritize physical activity, positive mental health practices, and nutritional eating through consistent education and messaging to students, staff, parents/guardians, and the school community.

All foods can be part of a healthy relationship with food, and principals will support the development of this within their school communities. Food is also a component of celebration and principals will support school staff in finding opportunities to celebrate with both a variety of non-food and food-based celebrations for students.  

The Division recognizes the interdependence of health and education, and the importance that a healthy school community has in student learning and achievement. Each Principal will support a comprehensive school health focus by promoting nutritional eating habits, physical activity and positive well-being.


  1. The Principal shall create a healthy school environment through promoting the importance of nutritional eating habits, active living, positive mental health practices, and by providing a positive social environment.
  2. Principals shall ensure that any food items served, sold or otherwise made available at school, during school sponsored events or activities, including but not limited to hot lunch or snack programs, fundraising activities, sporting events and/or celebrations, and food items offered by third parties follow the recommendations of the Alberta Nutrition Guidelines for Children and Youth’s “choose most often” and “choose sometimes” categories.

    Certain rare events in a school may include, for a variety of reasons, involvement of foods from the ‘Choose Least Often’ category. A Principal may allow for an event to include ‘Choose Least often’ foods. It is encouraged that the principal and school staff, in consultation with parents/guardians, determine what constitutes a rare event in their school, and the frequency of rare events.  Where a staff member requests to offer a ‘Choose Lease Often’ food, they must first seek verbal approval from their Principal. 
  3. School staff will promote Daily Physical Activity (DPA) in addition to following the requirements of the provincial program of study for Physical Education and Wellness to ensure regular active living opportunities are provided to all students.
  4. School staff will promote a positive social-emotional learning environment in accordance with the provincial program of study for Physical Education and Wellness and ensure positive behaviour support systems contribute to providing a safe, healthy and caring environment for all students.
  5. School staff and the parent community will promote health and wellness in students, the benefits of a health promoting school on student learning and achievement and, in collaboration with community agencies and Alberta Health Services, promote a healthy school environment.
  6. Principals are encouraged to create a school-based health and wellness team that includes students, parents, staff and community agencies to promote comprehensive school health, and access additional resources that promote a healthy school environment.