Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started

Q: When can the program be run?

A: The premise of the program is Active Kids = Active Minds, and while BOKS started as a before school program, today we encourage schools to get kids moving with BOKS at any time! Whether before, during, or after school, BOKS has curriculums and resources to support you.

Q: Our school already has P.E. Is BOKS meant as a replacement for P.E.?

A: No, the BOKS mission is to promote the profound impact of physical activity on a child’s mind, body, and community. BOKS will provide an opportunity for children to increase their daily physical activity in an effort to achieve the Public Health Agency of Canada’s recommended dosage of 60 minutes a day, 5 days a week. BOKS focuses on having fun and non-competitive play. We have found that P.E. teachers who also work as BOKS trainers take elements of the BOKS program and implement it into their PE classes. BOKS promotes P.E. teachers working with the BOKS team in your community as it can be mutually beneficial for the students and the school!

Q: How much space is necessary for BOKS?

A: Ideally, BOKS would be run in a gym, auditorium, cafeteria, or other open space, however our curriculum is adaptable to be run with whatever space you can find. BOKS can be run indoors or outdoors, however be sure to have an inclement weather plan in place.

Q: Can we combine BOKS with our already established before or after school program?

A: Yes! BOKS is 100% free, and we encourage our trainers to partner with existing before school programs to reach more kids.

Q: What curriculums do you offer and when can I use them?

A: Please see the chart below for details about each of our curriculums, but remember BOKS can always be adapted to fit your specific school needs. Check out our sample lesson plan here.

NameTypeGradeUseMinutesDays/Week
Elementary SchoolLesson Plan Documentk-6Before school, During the school day, After School40-602+
Middle SchoolLesson Plan Document7-8Before school, During the school day, After School40-602+
BurstsSupplementk-8Anytime2-105
Yoga and MindfulnessSupplementk-8Anytime2-10Any
Nutritional BitsSupplementk-8Anytime2-5Any
Adaptive Functional Fitness - ElementarySupplementk-6Before or After School40-60Any

Q: How many weeks are in each curriculum?

A: Our Elementary and Middle School programs consist of two 12 week sessions, with 3 unique lesson plans each week. The lesson plans can be used session after session. Be sure to check back on the Trainer Hub and Canadian Facebook Community for special edition lesson plans and new games.

Q: What grades does BOKS serve?

A: The BOKS program has unique curriculum offerings for children in pre-k through high school. In K-8 schools, the children in grades 6-8 can be junior trainers for an elementary focused program, especially if they have siblings in the program. Our training materials offer suggestions on how to utilize junior trainers.

Q: Does BOKS offer resources to help with program registration?

A: BOKS has downloadable resources available in the Registration and Program Preparation sections of the Trainer Hub. Suggested registration materials are include Consent and Registration form, Session Information Poster, and Registration Letter for Parents. Your school will likely already have a procedure for registration to extra-curricular programs. Be sure to speak with your school’s administrator to ensure you are following their protocol.

There are various methods for registering participants, including a lottery system, first-come first serve, or targeted intervention, and BOKS leaves it up to the trainer to determine what method is best for their program. If more children apply than spots are available, we recommend creating a wait list.

Q: Does BOKS have an app?

A: Our Trainer Hub is fully mobile. From your phone, click on your Trainer Hub link. Once the site opens, you can export to an icon on your mobile device by choosing to “add to home screen”.

Q: How many kids participate in the program?

A: Remember to set yourself up for success – it is better to start off small and then grow. BOKS strongly recommends a minimum 1:20 trainer to student ratio, however this ratio may fluctuate depending on the space available and trainer experience (and extra volunteers are always encouraged). If the school has a large gym then you can start with a bigger program, but if the school is running BOKS in a cafeteria or smaller space try to encourage a smaller program.

Q: What type of equipment is needed?

A: The critical equipment needed to run BOKS is pretty minimal. Cones, balls, jumps ropes, whistles and a first aid kit. We have suggested equipment lists with quantities included that can be purchased from our preferred vendor Brault & Bouthillier at bb.ca, however most BOKS equipment can already be found in a school gym.

Q: Our nurse is not on site – what about injuries?

A: The Lead Trainer should have a first aid kit and trainers (at least the Lead Trainer) should be certified in CPR. Additionally, there should be an Emergency Action Plan in place if there is a critical situation. Lastly, when in doubt always call 911. If the nurse is not available during BOKS hours each Lead Trainer is responsible for knowing where children’s inhalers or other medical needs are stored in case of an emergency. If the child’s medical needs are serious it is recommended that a parent or guardian is present during class time.

Q: Do participants have to attend every class?

A: It is recommended that children attend as many classes as possible. In order to see the benefits of the program, consistent attendance is critical. Additionally, if you have a wait list, it’s unfair for a chronically absent child to take a spot away from another child. If children participating in other programs that conflict with BOKS are registering, consider what your protocol will be.

Q: I want to run BOKS, what’s my next step?

A: Awesome, all BOKS programs require principal or administrator approval. After discussing with your principal or administrator, all you have to do is enroll your school by visiting https://bokskids.ca/enroll-school. Within 24 hours of enrolling, you’ll receive a link from BOKS HQ to set up your Trainer Hub account.

Program Logistics

Q: How much does BOKS cost?

A: BOKS is FREE! We provide training, curriculum, resources, and support all at no cost to the schools and youth based organizations. Each program identifies a passionate volunteer to fill the role Lead Trainer and run the BOKS program each day. If volunteers are not available, talk to your principal/school administration about providing a staff member to run the program.

Q: Our school does not have money in the budget to support this kind of program. What do we do?

A: It is important to remember that the program and training is 100% free. However, we understand there are certain costs associated with the program for things such as first aid supplies, copying/printing, and basic equipment like whistles, cones, balls and jump ropes. If the school isn’t able to donate or provide any of these, we have come across a few different options to funding the BOKS program if needed:

  1. Speak with the PTO/PTA, they may be able to earmark some funds to get our program started.
  2. Based on the program’s success, consider applying for a local or provincial/territorial grant.
  3. Reach out to local companies and have a discussion with them regarding sponsoring the BOKS program. You will want to make sure the sponsor will uphold the reputation of the school, students, community and overall mission of BOKS.
  4. Reach out to us at bokscanada@bokskids.ca to see if there are any current opportunities for equipment grants through BOKS and our generous sponsors.

Q: What about insurance?

A: Most BOKS programs fall under the school or district’s general liability insurance. This would be similar to any other activity or program that runs out of the school. Some administrators might require you to fill out a Rental Facilities Agreement. Check with your school administrator to see what will work.

Q: Is it necessary for us to evaluate our program?

A: Evaluating your BOKS program is not at all mandatory. However, tracking the improvement of your BOKS kids can be a great way to show parents and school officials how great BOKS is so that you can continue to offer it at your school. On an organizational level, BOKS works with scientific and academic partners to continually evaluate the program to prove the positive impact of physical activity on a child’s mind and body and make sure that our curriculum is the best it can be.

Q: What kind of evaluation has BOKS performed?

A: Within Canada, we are currently completing a 5-year longitudinal study of the scale up and growth of BOKS within Canada, as well as the physical effects of BOKS on children participating vs. children not participating in BOKS. Stay tuned for results on this study with Propel Center out of the University of Waterloo.

BOKS has conducted a number of evaluations in the United States with its key academic partners: NIOST (Wellesley College), Dr. Wayne Westcott (Quincy College), Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, and Mass General Hospital. Collectively, through data on thousands of children, these studies have clearly demonstrated the profound impact that BOKS has on a child’s mind and body through improved executive functioning of the brain, body composition (BMI and body fat percentage), daily steps, daily activity duration and intensity, cardiovascular endurance, nutrition knowledge, school attendance, school engagement, positive affect, and energy/vitality. BOKS also has a long-term influence on healthy eating habits and physical activity.

Please check out these links to read more!

Q: Do you have assessment tools that schools can use to prove the effectiveness of BOKS?

A: We recommend running a physical assessment via a timed 400 meter run. All training and calculating materials you will need to run this simple assessment are available on our Trainer Hub. The data from this assessment can be used to show your school administration, parents, sponsor and/or grantors the effectiveness of BOKS. Plus, the kids love seeing their improvement in run time over the course of their session!

Trainer Questions

Q: How is the Lead Trainer identified?

A: Parents, teachers and school faculty are encouraged to get involved, but the Lead Trainer needs to have continuous contact with the children and school community. The Lead Trainer has historically been the BOKS advocate who pitched the program to the school or was identified specifically by the principal as a good candidate for the position. The Lead Trainer responsibilities can be broken up into administration and classroom leader if that is helpful for the schools specific situation.

Q: Is it hard to manage children with such varying ages altogether in the program?

A: In our experience, this has not been a big issue. The older children can act as mentors for the younger children. This provides leadership opportunities for them in addition to being role models. The lesson plans are specifically designed to appeal to a range of ages. During the end of class game(s), children can be divided by grades to enable a fast or slow paced game. Depending on the lesson plan, children may also choose between two different games at the end of class.

Q: What kind of qualifications does a Lead Trainer need to possess?

A: The Lead Trainer does not need to be a fitness professional, but he or she should be passionate about the BOKS mission and comfortable working with youth. The most important characteristics for a Lead Trainer to possess are:

  1. Enthusiasm and excitement for the program
  2. Ability to manage a large group of children
  3. Good organizational and communication skills
  4. Reliable and passionate towards working with kids.

Q: How will the trainers be trained?

A: BOKS offers both in person and Virtual Training. In person training dates are posted on our website. If you are interested in scheduling a BOKS Training for your district or organization, please reach out for more information.

Q: What happens when BOKS needs to run inside because of weather?

A: The programming anticipates the need for indoor activity. There are lesson plans that take into account varying school space (i.e. no gym, utilizing classroom space and hallways).

Q: What is required of me as a BOKS Lead Trainer?

A: We ask that all BOKS Lead Trainers utilize our Trainer Hub to enter at least one session per year (in order to remain an active BOKS school) and fill out a program confirmation online at the end of the school year.

General Questions

Q: Did BOKS adhere to a certain philosophy when designing its program?

A: There are four core pillars that define BOKS values:

Team work: Team activities and games are a large part of the curriculum. We want children to learn that their individual contribution to the team is important. Children can learn that winning is not the only object but rather putting forth best effort and support for the other team members is equally important. Working as a team will help children develop problem-solving skills and promote social interactions that will help them cope with different situations in life and break traditional peer groups.

Individual Performance: We believe individual performance is a key contributor to confidence and self-esteem. Children should be strongly encouraged to give their best efforts during individual activities, such as running. Trainers can track individual performance over the course of the session. For instance, at the beginning and the end of each session, the trainers can have the children perform a timed run or other metrics as a benchmark for ability and improvement. By creating the desire for personal improvement, children will be inspired to work as hard as they can.

Leadership: BOKS strives to provide and promote leadership opportunities in the program. Children can gain confidence and develop a sense of self-worth by being given additional responsibilities or privileges during class. Additionally, in K-8 schools, children in the upper grades can act as junior trainers.

Fun: The cornerstone of BOKS. We want children to look forward to BOKS. It is our goal to create a program that all children can enjoy regardless of their age or ability level. So, if something isn’t working, put your plans aside and play a game, change things up, keep the children moving and smiling. We want children to associate fun with being active.

Q: How do we spread the word about the program?

A: There are several ways to “spread the word” about BOKS. At the school level, you could offer to speak at a PTO/PTA meeting, teacher staff meeting, or school committee meeting. Offer to hold a demo class one morning, afternoon or evening to showcase BOKS. Some towns offer district or town wide physical activity events where BOKS would be a great fit. BOKS flyers for school bulletin boards, backpacks (could be an e-Blast) is another way to create awareness.

Consider contacting a local paper to get some press around the program, participate in community events or offer the opportunity to demo the program one morning, afternoon or weekend to show what it is all about. Some schools have piloted a class, inviting parents and teachers to come with their kids to learn more about the program. This, along with conducting a program interest survey, enables you to gauge if BOKS could work at your school.

Q: I have a great BOKS story, how do I get press?

A: Please keep the BOKS community in the loop! If you have a great story, share it with us. If you have something you think would make a great PR story, reach out to the BOKS team at bokscanada@bokskids.org.