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Turn Off the Screens Challenge

Turn off the Screens is a week long challenge encouraging students and their families to turn off their television, video game and computer screens.

Reviewed May 07, 2007


Turn off the Screens is a week long challenge encouraging students and their families to turn off their television, video game and computer screens for an entire week and instead get active, read and spend time with friends and family.

Objectives of the Program

  • Increase physical activity while reducing screen time among school-aged children
  • Promote literacy and encourage reading for fun
  • Promote social interaction of children and youth with peers, family and community partners

Roles

  • School staff help plan activities in and out of the classroom to support the message of the week
  • Students turn off their screens and focus on physical activity and reading and help plan Turn off the Screens Week activities
  • Public health nurses help to plan Turn off the Screens activities, coordinate planning with Parks and Recreation and the Library and provide the school with program materials
  • Parks and Recreation and the Library in conjunction with the school plan events for students and families

How can I bring Turn off the Screens to my school?

Contact a School Public Health Nurse or call the Region of Peel - Public Health
at 905-799-7700. Caledon residents can call free of charge at 905-584-2216.
- or -
Download the program components from the "Resources" section of this website
and plan your own school-wide or classroom Turn off the Screens event.

Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we need to Turn off the Screens?
What kinds of activities are involved in Turn off the Screens Week?

Resources
How to Organize a Turn off the Screens Week (PDF 60 Kb)
School Ideas for the Week (PDF 104 Kb)
Classroom Activities to Promote Literacy (PDF 134 Kb)
My Body Lies Over the Sofa (PDF 121 Kb)
Curriculum

Kindergarten (PDF 137 Kb)
Grade One (PDF 118 Kb)
Grade Two (PDF 127 Kb)
Grade Three (PDF 126 Kb)
Grade Four (PDF 131 Kb)
Grade Five (PDF 123 Kb)
Grade Six (PDF 127 Kb)
Grade Seven (PDF 141 Kb)
Grade Eight (PDF 110 Kb)

Log Sheet (PDF 396 Kb)
Certificate (PDF 185 Kb)
Announcements (PDF 73 Kb)
Newsletter Inserts (PDF 125 Kb)

Supported by the Peel Turn off the Screens Committee.

Why do we need to Turn off the Screens?
Time spent watching TV and videos games takes away from opportunities for children to engage in physical activity, social interaction, learning to read and being creative. Spending excessive amounts of time watching television has been linked to childhood obesity which in turn increases a child's chances of experiencing health problems such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

Canadian children and youth watch up to 26 hours of TV per week.1 By the time they have graduated from high school they will have spent more time on the couch watching TV than they have spent learning in class.2

1 Ontario Physical and Health Education Association (OPHEA). Trends in Physical Activity among Children. 2003. Online: www.ophea.net [accessed February 6, 2004].
2 Statistics Canada. Average hours per week of television viewing. 2001. Online www.statcan.ca [accessed February 6, 2004]

What kinds of activities are involved in Turn off the Screens Week?
Most schools start off the week with a kick-off assembly. Students pledge to turn off the screens for the week and receive an activity log on which to record the activities they choose to do in place of "screen" time.

Peel Health provides curriculum support materials for each grade so that teachers can plan in class activities to support the message of the week.

Some events that schools have planned in the past include:

  • Library bingo/ scavenger hunts
  • Story book costume parades
  • Puppet shows
  • Plays/ skits
  • Classroom reading zones
  • School open house with crafts, games in the gym, story time in the library
  • Author visits
  • Free swim night at the recreation centre
  • Walk and talk (class walk around the neighbourhood
  • Cookshop
  • Daily activity breaks
  • Curling at the recreation centre
  • Public library tours
  • Guest speakers



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