Search for Resources

Healthy Neighborhood Healthy Kids

Middle, Secondary


Healthy Neighborhood Healthy Kids is an in-depth resource with a service-learning project as its culmination.  The resource is comprised of seven activities to engage students in meaningful exploration of their community and to provide teachers, students, and communities with opportunities for student-led community change.

1. Neighbourhood and Place: This section helps the students to develop an understanding of the concepts of neighbourhood, community and place through discussions and small group work by creating montages, concept maps and drawing maps of their walk to school and of their neighbourhood.

2. Quality of Life: This unit will have the students create lists of features that are in their ideal neighborhood and compare that list to a developed list of features for a good quality of life. They then learn about indicators and how they are used to measure progress.

3. Report Card:  In this unit, the students create and familiarize themselves with the report card that they will use to evaluate their neighbourhood and its features.

4.  Neighbourhood Walk: The students conduct a walk through the neighbourhood and evaluate the agreed upon indicators.  They will sort their findings into two groups: positive findings and problems findings that need improvement.  After each group shares their findings, the class will decide which finding could be the focus of their service-learning project.

5. Sharing Results: Students share their findings with the community by writing a report in the form of a letter, making presentations, calling representatives, or lobbying for specific changes.

6. Project Planning: Students brainstorm, select, and initiate appropriate service-learning projects to improve the safety and health of their neighbourhood.

7. Celebration and Reflection: Students reflect on how their participation in the project impacted their learning, their community, and the overall health and safety of its citizens. Students plan a celebration that honours their hard work and community accomplishments.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

This resource explicitly teaches the students the following skills:

  • letter writing
  • evaluate indicators
  • presentation skills
  • how to plan a service-learning project


This resource has the following strengths:

  • there is a good quantity of background information and guidance for the teacher
  • all necessary resources and materials are provided
  • easy to follow with many suggestions for the teacher as well as extension activities and reflection questions
  • the students will relate very well to the activities 
  • there is a goal with the work that the students are completing

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource would be a great focus for a Social Studies class for a term with the action project as a final focus.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (2)

    • Community-Building and Participation
    • General Guide to Taking Action
  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Quality of Life

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

The students are the leaders in this resource with the teacher acting as facilitator.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Very Good
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Very Good

The entire goal of the resource is to promote observable change in the community.  The end unit is one of celebration and reflection where the students can look back at their work and see the positive change they have made in their community.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good
Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

The resource is intended to have the students assess their community for different groups of people who live within it; however, the focus is not on fostering empathy and respect for those groups.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Very Good

The neighbourhood walk is a key component of the resource. This helps the students to see their community in a different light.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Very Good
Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good

The resource does a great job of addressing the present and the future.  The teacher may want to supplement in order to develop an understanding of the past in the community.  This could be done with pictures and a quick lesson on the history and development of the community.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good

The unit is entirely open-ended with multiple answers encouraged.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Very Good

The students are the leaders in the learning and the decisions of this resource.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.


Differentiated Instruction Good
Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Very Good
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Good

After students participate in team-building activities and discuss what skills are needed to be a positive member of their group, students identify personal and group strengths. Each group then uses the teamwork tool in the Service Project Planning Packet to identify how the group will make decisions, what roles and responsibilities each group member has, and a goal for working together.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Good

There are essential questions provided that could be used to assess the students learning as they progress through the resource. Many opportunities for reflective writing as students reflect on lessons learned and the impact the project had on the community.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Very Good

Students document and summarize their project activities and events. They create materials to display and share with the community at the project celebration event.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good

There is a case study included in the resource as a model and explanation for the students or teacher as to how one community approached improving itself.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Very Good

The resource provides a list of potential documentation methods for the students.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.