Physical Health and Education (PHE) National Conference hosted at USask

The Physical Health and Education(PHE) National Conference brings together physical and health education teachers, physical activity leaders, and sector experts to support their collective goal of all children and youth in Canada living healthy, physically active lives.

By Alyssa Wiebe | Kinesiology Communications

This year, the College of Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) is proud to host the conference which saw over 300 delegates from across Canada attend. The conference began Wednesday May 1, with a research forum and presentations from researchers across the nation.

The USask College of Kinesiology was proud to have nine students, faculty, staff, and alumni present on topics that ranged from physical literacy to enhancing physical activity among Indigenous youth. 

“The PHE Canada conference provides valuable opportunities for USask students, faculty and alumni to share their knowledge and experiences with delegates from all over Canada,” said Louise Humbert, a conference presenter and faculty member in the College of Kinesiology.

“A quick look at the program illustrates the vast range of contributions made by USask students, alumni, and faculty.  There is so much great work being done by our current students, faculty, and our alumni it is wonderful to be able to showcase it to researchers, and practitioners from all parts of Canada.”

Dr. Lee Schaefer presents at the 2024 PHE Research Forum.

The conference is held over a four-day span and includes an opening ceremony, keynote speakers, a cultural camp in the bowl, a vendor marketplace, and a research forum.

Held annually in conjunction with the National Physical and Health Education Conference the research forum is guided by the PHE Canada Research Council and provides a convening opportunity for academics, graduate students, and practitioners with a common interest in physical and health education.

The forum encourages attendees to come together to share and learn current research, discuss issues and topics of relevance, and establish and nurture professional networks.

“The research forum connects national and international researchers around physical education, health, and physical activity and allow us to share our current research,” said Dr. Lee Schaefer, a faculty member in the College of Kinesiology.

“The accessibility for graduate students enabled them to share their research and begin building scholarly connections that are so important as they move forward with their careers. Lastly, we often have teachers, health promotors, administrators and individuals that are looking for practical applications, which motivates researchers to ensure they can translate their findings in ways that meet the needs of a more diverse group.”

Another important aspect of the conference is the Pre-Conference Cultural Camp. The camp will provide an opportunity for event attendees to learn more about the rich cultural traditions of the Indigenous groups of the land known as Saskatchewan and home to Treaty 8, 10, 6, 5, 4, and 2, which are the traditional territories of the Denesųłiné, Cree, Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, Saulteaux, and the homeland of the Metis.

Delegates will learn more about the cultural traditions of Indigenous groups of the land through a variety of hands-on learning opportunities, such as: tipi raising, medicinal plants, beading, spirituality (i.e. smudging), jigging, round dance, fish fry and Bannock, and more.

“I think it shows a shifting landscape where First Nation and Metis knowledge is valued, paid attention to, and embraced. The inclusion of an experience like this pushes against colonial policies that have long disregarded, excluded and oppressed Indigenous ways of knowing and doing,” said Dr. Schaefer. “Those from other provinces, countries, may or may not be accustomed to this, so I think it is perhaps a small way to model how reconciliation can take place for both organizations and individuals.”

The conference will wrap up on Saturday, May 4, with research presentations and closing ceremonies.

For more information, you can visit the PHE Conference website.