Promoting Well-Being in Ontario's Education System

Join the discussion about Well-Being

Engagement Paper

Well-Being in Our Schools, Strength in Our Society
Deepening Our Understanding of Well-Being in Ontario Schools and How to Support it, in Kindergarten to Grade 12


Ontario's Well-Being Strategy for Education:


Children and students who have strong relationships and a positive sense of self are in a better position to reach their full potential. As we continue to strive for excellence in our education system, we know it is essential to support all of our students to have a positive sense of well-being – the sense of self, identity, and belonging in the world that will help them to learn, grow and thrive.

If our goal in Ontario is for all of our students to become active members of their communities, able to bring about positive change and to flourish in society, we must heighten our focus on well-being as a crucial prerequisite for long-term success.

Our Goal for Community Engagement on Well-Being

The Ministry of Education is looking to develop a shared vision of how we can best support the well-being of all students, in collaboration with parents, students, educators and administrators, counsellors, social workers, and community partners across the province.

Work is happening every day in local school communities to promote and support the well-being of students. At the same time, we also know that there are significant challenges and more work is necessary to support the well-being of all Ontario learners. The Ministry of Education wants to learn from, and build on the successful work underway, as we collectively move forward on our shared goal of promoting student well-being.

By drawing on the knowledge of those who have done important work over many years to foster well-being among our students, we will strive to establish a common understanding of what promoting well-being means in schools, identify challenges and opportunities for improving supports for well-being and consider how we will know our impact on well-being to best guide our future efforts.

With your feedback and with contributions from partner ministries, we will develop a provincial student well-being framework for K-12, that will reflect our shared commitments and the positive outcomes we want for all our students.

How can you join the discussion?

We are interested in hearing from as many people as possible, so we are offering two ways to take part in the engagement process, which concludes March 19, 2017:

  1. Submit feedback online
    You can submit your feedback through the engagement portal, available until March 19, 2017.
  2. Host your own Engagement Session
    We are encouraging members of the public to host their own engagement sessions. This could be part of a regularly scheduled series of meetings or a specific meeting to discuss well-being. You can decide on the format that best serves your community or audience. The ministry is providing an engagement kit to support those who want to organize their own discussions. After you hold your engagement session, you can send your feedback to the ministry to engagement portal. To ensure that the results of your session are included, please send by March 19, 2017.

The Engagement Kit can be used to facilitate productive discussions about well-being in your community. The kit includes:

Well-Being in Ontario: Video

Watch the video to learn more about Ontario’s well-being strategy for education.


Ontario’s Well-Being Strategy for Education

Promoting well-being is one of the four interconnected goals of Achieving Excellence, Ontario’s renewed vision for education. This goal is based on the principle that our education system needs to help students build the knowledge and skills associated with well-being so that they can become healthy, active and engaged citizens. Ontario is committed to building on and deepening the solid foundation that has been created in early years centres, classrooms, schools and communities across the province, and this requires the ongoing commitment and collaboration of all our partners in education.

Promoting well-being is not only part of our renewed vision for education. It is also something that collectively we have been working on for many years. Across Ontario, current well-being initiatives are already underway in schools.

There are four key components at the foundation of Ontario’s well-being strategy:

What is Well-Being?

Well-being is a positive sense of self, spirit and belonging that is felt when our cognitive, emotional, social and physical needs are being met. It is supported through equity and respect for our diverse identities and strengths.

Well-being in early years and school settings is about helping children and students become resilient, so that they can make positive and healthy choices to support learning and achievement both now and in the future.

Through the engagement opportunities identified above, we hope to learn more about what well-being means to you.

The Four Domains of Well-Beingimage

Well-being is expressed by the self and spirit and is anchored in the four domains, which are:

Cognitive: The development of abilities and skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and the ability to be flexible and innovative.

Emotional: This involves learning about experiencing emotions, and understanding how to recognize, manage, and cope with them.

Social: The development of self-awareness, including the sense of belonging, collaboration, relationships with others, and communication skills.

Physical: The development of the body, impacted by physical activity, sleep patterns, healthy eating, and healthy life choices.

These areas, as well as the spirit and self are explored in the engagement paper.

Our collective commitment to improve Well-Being

Our well-being strategy is meant to provide an understanding of current and ongoing well-being in Ontario’s education system. Through the engagement opportunities, we hope to identify conditions that promote well-being, and a plan to improve well-being across the publicly funded education system. Our goal is that all students will develop enhanced mental and physical health, a positive sense of self and belonging, and the skills to make positive choices. We are also working to ensure that children, educators and all staff will feel that their well-being is supported.

Next Steps

Join the conversation about well-being. By incorporating your feedback and working with partner ministries, we will develop a provincial student Well-Being framework for K-12, that will reflect our shared commitments and the positive outcomes we want for all our students.

All children deserve the best possible start in life, and the right to be supported as they learn and grow. We look forward to our ongoing work with our partners as we strive to achieve excellence, ensure equity, promote well-being and enhance public confidence in our education system.

We have a collective responsibility to create healthy learning and work environments that contribute to life-long learning. Together, with the release of the engagement paper, online feedback form, and the Engagement Kit, our work continues towards building a shared understanding and sharing ideas about what works.

Additional Reading:

Learn more about the discussion document, Ontario’s Well-Being Strategy for Education: Promoting Well-Being in Ontario’s Education System:

Learn more about Ontario’s renewed vision at ontario.ca/eduvision.