Standards for child and youth development programs

2020 Edition

Supplement for OST Programming: Health and Wellness (CYD-OST-HW) 1: Programming and Activities: Health and Wellness

Activities designed to promote health and wellness enable children and youth to:
  1. make healthy food choices;
  2. develop their fitness and athletic abilities;
  3. improve mental and emotional wellness; and/or
  4. avoid adverse health outcomes (e.g., substance use, teen pregnancy).
2020 Edition




Children and youth who participate in Health and Wellness activities are prepared to make healthy choices and improve their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Related Standards:
Note: Please note that the more general expectations included in CYD-OST 8 also apply to the activities addressed in this core concept. For example, activities should accommodate children and youth with differing needs and abilities, as addressed in CYD-OST 8.05; allow sufficient time for practice and improvement, as addressed in CYD-OST 8.06; and include recognition of progress and accomplishments, as addressed in CYD-OST 8.15. See CYD-OST 8 for additional expectations regarding programming and activities. 
The program’s practices fully meet the standard, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • A description of programming and activities, including:
    1. type and nature of programming/activities;
    2. opportunities provided to children and youth during programming/activities;
    3. role of personnel
  • Procedures for maintaining protective sports equipment (CYD-OST-HW 1.05)
  • Curricula (for previous quarter)
  • Programming/activity plans (for previous quarter)
  • Daily schedules for past month
  • Attendance records (showing totals for each day and weekly averages)
  • Logic model (or equivalent framework)
  • Qualifications of personnel (or others) providing activities (e.g., in personnel records)
  • Staff training materials
  • Documentation that staff training has been provided (e.g., in training files or personnel records)
  • Interview:
    1. Program Administrator
    2. Site Director
    3. Program Personnel
    4. Children, youth, and families
  • Observe program activities
  • Observe protective sportsequipment, if applicable


Children and youth are helped to understand the importance and benefits of a healthy lifestyle, and are provided with information and support designed to promote well-being, and encourage positive choices, outside program time. 
Related Standards:


 While all programs should help children and youth understand the importance and benefits of a healthy lifestyle, their exact focus may vary based on their specific goals.  For example, while one program may focus primarily on food or exercise, another may focus more on stress reduction or body image, and another may focus on preventing negative behaviors such as substance use or unprotected sex.  When a program is designed to promote wellness by supporting social and emotional learning and development, implementation of this standard will overlap with CYD-OST 4.05 through 4.07.
Note:  As referenced in the Note to CYD-OST-HW 1, it is also important to remember that implementation of this standard will overlap with the expectations included in CYD-OST 8.  For example, youth participating in a group designed to prevent teen pregnancy should have opportunities to think deeply about the topic and share their thoughts and ideas, as addressed in CYD-OST 8.07 and 8.08.  


Programs designed to engage children and youth in activities related to food or cooking:
  1. offer programming that is centered around nutritious foods;
  2. help children and youth understand the nutritional content of the food; and
  3. ensure that activities do not advance the agenda or priorities of a particular food industry.


Children and youth may engage with food in different ways, based on the nature of the activity offered.  For example, while one program might engage children and youth in purchasing and preparing healthy foods, another might provide the opportunity to grow and harvest a particular crop.  Regardless of the type of activity provided, children and youth should have opportunities to see and taste nutritious foods.
NA The program is not designed to provide activities related to food or cooking.


Programs designed to engage children and youth in sports or fitness activities:
  1. offer structured activities designed to support the development of muscles, flexibility, balance, or other physical skills; and 
  2. ensure children and youth are engaged in physical activity for a significant proportion of the activity session.
Related Standards:


The types of activities provided will vary from program to program.  Examples include fitness activities such as aerobics, martial arts, weight lifting, or yoga, as well as practice and/or games for competitive or non-competitive sports.
NA The program is not designed to provide sports or fitness activities.
 Some literature suggests that exercise or fitness programs should engage participants in physical activity for seventy to ninety percent of the program session, noting that the time dedicated to directions, set-up, or resting should be limited.


Sports and fitness activities are designed to:
  1. recognize effort and maximize play or activity time for all children and youth, regardless of ability; and
  2. promote positive sportsmanship.
NA The program is not designed to provide sports or fitness activities.
Studies of youth who participated on sports teams found that youths’ perception of their ability is more important than their actual ability.  As such, feedback should be focused on individual performance and progress towards achieving personal goals rather than on “winning” or being the best.

Fundamental Practice


Appropriate protective sports equipment is used that:
  1. meets minimum safety requirements;
  2. accomodates heavy usage;
  3. is appropriate to the ages and capabilities of participants; and
  4. is maintained in a safe, hygienic manner.
Related Standards:


Protective sports equipment includes helmets, shin guards, pads, floor mats, etc.  Staff should follow disinfecting procedures for shared equipment that may pose a health risk to children and youth.
NA The program does not offer activities that require protective sports equipment.


Personnel are qualified to facilitate and oversee activities, and receive training that addresses:
  1. best practices related to the program’s area of focus; and
  2. how to coach children and youth in a positive way, when overseeing sports or fitness activities.


Personnel may be qualified through a combination of education, training, experience, and/or certification.  However, all personnel should be trained on the topics specified in this standard.