P.A.L.S. stands for Playground Activity Leaders in Schools. The program encourages students to take part in physical activities regardless of age, gender, size or ability. Activities take place during the school day at scheduled break times.
To run P.A.L.S. in your school, identify one staff champion and four to five student champions. A public health nurse will train the staff champion and two student champions to implement the program.
Student champions will oversee the program and recruit leaders.
Student leaders from grades four to seven with leadership qualities are trained to act as playground activity leaders to plan and lead fun and safe activities on the playground for younger students. Leaders are encouraged to run the program twice a week.
Existing school equipment, such as balls and skipping ropes, can be used to run the activities.
Your school nurse can:
The Staff Champion could be the principal, vice principal, teacher, other staff (community youth worker, youth counsellor) or a parent volunteer.
It's the Staff Champion's responsibility to recruit two Student Champions. Student Champions can be any students in grade 7 or 8 who are great leaders, responsible, organized and are interested in the success of the P.A.L.S. program. Student Champions can apply by completing an application form.
Ideally the school should have one Staff Champion and two Student Champions working together as a team to help do the following:
Promote the program to potential P.A.L.S. leaders
Select the P.A.L.S. leaders
Train and orient the P.A.L.S. Leaders
Provide support and mentoring during regular meetings with P.A.L.S. leaders
You will also:
Holding regular meetings for P.A.L.S. leaders is a successful way to continue the momentum for the program throughout the school year. Through recurring meetings, P.A.L.S. Staff and Student Champions are given the opportunity to support and mentor P.A.L.S. leaders on a consistent basis. Consider having the Student Champions lead these meetings. Your school's public health nurse can provide support and additional games resources during these meetings as well.
Regular meetings provide an opportunity for P.A.L.S. leaders to share information on how well the program is running. With this information, P.A.L.S. Staff and Student Champions gain a better appreciation for the challenges that P.A.L.S. leaders may be facing and are able to modify the program to meet the needs of the school.
Staff and Student Champions may wish to meet weekly for the first month and then less frequently once the program is established in a school.
In these meetings, P.A.L.S. Staff and Student Champions might have leaders:
The leader recruitment process can be handled in a variety of ways. Review the suggestions below or develop an alternative plan that meets your school's needs.
Here's some key information to share when recruiting leaders. These are just suggestions. Feel free to incorporate your own ideas.
Pump up the volume! Be enthusiastic about P.A.L.S.
Review the objectives of the program
Review program commitment
Application and selection process
Recommended grade for P.A.L.S. leaders is 4 to 7
Choose a mix of students
All training sessions are held at your school and are led by the Staff and Student Champions. Your public health nurse is available to train, support and assist the champions in the development of these trainings. Your public health nurse will be connecting with the champions to set up time to begin this planning.
Prior to your first planning meeting with your public health nurse, have the Staff and Student Champions review the P.A.L.S. Champion Handbook and Leader Handbook.
Initial training day (approx. three hours)
Leader handbook review in the library or a room with tables
Subsequent training day (approx. three hours)
Games in gym or outside
It is the school's responsibility to provide the equipment. P.A.L.S. leaders will need to learn the games.
Some P.A.L.S. Champions have found scheduling leaders the most challenging part of the program. Every school operates differently and will have to create a schedule to meet their needs. Here are a few points to consider when developing the schedule. Don't be afraid to experiment or ask your school PHN for suggestions that have worked in other schools.
Determine the two days per week the P.A.L.S. program will be offered
Decide if the program will run at recess and lunch or just at lunch or during a fitness and nutrition break
Ask leaders to submit their choice of days and the names of one or two individuals they would like to work with
Create teams based on the number of days the leaders are assigned each week
Consider switching days for the teams each month so each red team has an opportunity to be P.A.L.S. leaders for a day per week
A well-designed play space can help reduce conflict
To improve communication with leaders, assign a Staff or Student Champion to each team
Decide if the P.A.L.S. leaders will be involved if there is indoor recess
Each school may choose to launch the program in a different way. You could consider having the Student Champions come up with some ways to launch the program to get them involved. Here are a few ideas:
Introduce the program and P.A.L.S. leaders at an assembly
Arrange a play day to orient students to the various games
Introduce games during gym or one class at a time during recess
I'm lovin' P.A.L.S.
(To the tune of the "I'm lovin' it" - McDonald's jingle) Submitted by Silverthorn Elementary School
Da da da da da, I'm lovin' P.A.L.S.
P.A.L.S. is here! And "I'm lovin' it". Today at (time), you'll get a change to find out all about it! P.A.L.S. student leaders will be on the playground in their bright red pinnies to play great new games and have lots of fun.
Da da da da da, I'm lovin' P.A.L.S.
Submitted by St. Gregory's
Gimme a P!
Gimme an A! Gimme an L! Gimme an S!
What have you got? P.A.L.S.! What's that again? P.A.L.S.!
The P.A.L.S. leaders will be out on the playground today at (time) so look for their bright red pinnies. Join them to play some cool games!
We're P.A.L.S. leaders and we're here to say,
we offer fun and games most every day.
When we're out you'll always know,
by our bright red pinnies that almost glow!
Out on the playground, we're meeting new friends. The fun never stops and the games never end. So come out and meet us, we're always around. We'll be out at recess, all over the playground.
P.A.L.S. two way conversation
What is it (name)?
Have you heard of this great new thing at our school? It's called P.A.L.S.
P.A.L.S.? What's that?
Well, today at (time) the P.A.L.S. leaders will be out on the playground in bright red pinnies to teach us lots of cool new games.
Really? That sounds great!
Yeah, and they'll be out on the playground (specify when) to show us even more games.They play tag and ball games and jump rope and more.
Wow! Well now that I know what it is, I'll be there for sure! I hope everyone comes out for this! It sounds amazing!
You know their name and you know their colour!
They're fantastic and fun, like no other!
The P.A.L.S. help make our recess swing!
Come on out, and don't miss a thing!
P.A.L.S. are here and they love to play!
They make the most of every day!
They play great games and have tons of fun!
And they love to play with everyone!
Come on over and join the games!
Meet new people and learn new names!
P.A.L.S. can't wait to run and play!
So come and see them, don't delay!
That's right everyone, the P.A.L.S. leaders will be out today on the playground from (time) to (time) doing their P.A.L.S. thing. Look for the bright red pinnies and come on over to have some major fun!
P.A.L.S. have returned
Guess what everybody? The P.A.L.S. leaders are back! They will be out on the playground for another fun filled session of ball games, tag, skipping and jumpsies (or specify day's activity).They'll be out today from (time) to (time) teaching excellent new games. Just look for the bright red P.A.L.S. pinnies and come out and join the fun.
When organizing the playground equipment consider using a mesh bag or small tote. Ensure whatever you choose is light weight and easy to carry. Organize the equipment according to how you designed your playground. For example, if you have a skipping station, place all the skipping ropes in one bag with the game cards. Repeat the same process for ball, jumpsie ropes and tag games.
Approximate cost of the equipment is $150 to $200. If you're unable to find equipment at local stores, consider purchasing equipment through equipment supply catalogues, such as Wintergreen, Spectrum.
It's important to ensure leader visibility on the playground. Niagara Region Public Health has adopted a one size fits all pinnie for this purpose. Schools interested in using the pinnies for their P.A.L.S. program will receive 12 pinnies, one time only. Niagara Region Public Health will not be responsible for replacing lost pinnies.
Pinnies will be made available to schools that have completed P.A.L.S. training.
Pinnies are red with white printing. "There is always room for one more." is printed on the back of the pinnie.
"Recognition is a valuable motivator, since positive reinforcement enhances self-acceptance, personal growth and a sense of belonging."
When participants and leaders are recognized they show greater commitment to the program and you are likely to see increased participation. You could consider having the Student Champions come up with some ideas for recognition or ask their peers what ways they would like to be acknowledged.
Here are some of our ideas:
Playground Leader of the Week
Prize draws for leaders who have consistently fulfilled their obligations.
Year End Party
Celebrate successes at leader meetings to keep the group motivated.
Recognize those who consistently participate in the program (play games, assist leaders with clean-up, etc.)
Playground safety is a shared responsibility. Here are some tips to help you and your P.A.L.S. leaders to understand the role you play in keeping the playground a safe and fun place to be
Although each school board will have specific policies addressing extreme weather conditions, here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
Ice breakers are a fun way to start off a P.A.L.S. leaders meeting. Keep in mind what you would like the P.A.L.S. leaders to get out of the activity as you choose an ice breaker for the P.A.L.S. meetings. Below you will find a few examples of ice breakers that can be used. The internet also offers a variety of ice breakers.
What's in a Name?
This activity is a great ice breaker that provides opportunity for participants to use one word to share something about themselves with the group.
Add a Compliment
This activity provides opportunity for participants to learn to compliment and receive compliments from others. It helps to build group unity as barriers come down when participants are challenged to focus on the positive attributes of others.
Create a Story
The activity provides a fun opportunity for participants to practice group skills such as listening, co-operation, communication and respect.
This activity provides opportunity for participants to get to know each other and discover things they have in common.
For more information about the P.A.L.S. program, email your school's public nurse or call 905-688-8248 ext. 7379.
For game ideas and more, visit the Canadian Intramural Recreation Association of Ontario.
Schools can get help with program implementation and use the program resources, but the program is being reviewed to enhance content related to: