Playground Activity Leaders in Schools (PALS)

Playground Activity Leaders in Schools (PALS) is an elementary school recess program. The program:

  • Encourages all students to take part in physical activities regardless of age, gender, size or ability
  • Organizes activities that take place during the school day at scheduled break times
  • Fosters a sense of belonging and inclusion among students

Program motto: "There is always room for one more."


  • Increases opportunity for physical activity to improve students' physical literacy
  • Increases students' sense of belonging and inclusion
  • Provides leadership opportunities and empowers students to become active leaders
  • Decreases bullying and conflict by creating a positive social and physical environment that promotes healthy, safe and caring relationships
  • PALS is one of the many fun programs that can fit into the Healthy Schools framework

Program resources

Download the Facilitator Handbook and Student Leader Training Guide.

To receive the rest of the materials for the PALS program, email Healthy Schools.


We've provided resources for schools to use as part of the PALS program. The PALS program resources were created and approved for use only within Ontario.

Running PALS in your school

To run PALS in your school, there are roles that need to be filled.

  • Adult facilitators and volunteers

    The PALS program follows a train-the-trainer model.

    To run PALS in your school, identify one or more adult facilitators. Public Health staff will train the adult facilitators to start the program and support student leader training.

    Facilitators can be school administrators, teachers or other educational staff.

    Having more than one adult facilitator is recommended to share the workload and ensure coverage in case one is absent. You can also consider training parent and guardian volunteers or secondary school, college or university students to support the program.

  • Student leaders

    Determine the grades from which students will be eligible to apply. PALS student leaders are generally students in grades four to six. Students in grades seven and eight may also be considered to act as mentors for new leaders.

    Student leaders are trained to act as playground activity leaders. They will 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 can be used to run the activities.

  • School nurse

    Your school nurse can:

    • Provide support and ideas throughout the school year
    • Work with child and youth workers or youth counsellors to train staff and student leaders
    • Connect your school PALS program to the school health team for more support

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