HIGH FIVE is Canada’s quality standard for children’s sport and recreation. The standard focuses on helping organizations enhance the quality of their sport and recreation programs and providing positive experiences for children – experiences that will remain with them for a lifetime.1

HIGH FIVE was founded by Parks and Recreation Ontario (PRO) after a desire by the Ontario government to standardize and regulate the delivery of children’s programs in the recreation sector within the province. There was a need for an innovative approach that was research based and could be the ‘seal of approval’ for quality service delivery of children’s programs. 

HIGH FIVE holds true to the five Principles of healthy child development that the research indicates are essential for quality programs: A Caring Adult, the opportunity to make Friends, Play, Master Skills, and Participate.2

With the Principles as the foundation, the Quality Experience Scanning Tools (QUEST) were developed and scientifically validated to measure program quality and policies and procedures as they relate to healthy child development. All the research and tool development led to the creation of three trainings: Principles of Healthy Child Development (PHCD) training for front-line leaders, QUEST 2 for Supervisors, and QUEST 1 for Managers.3

After being an established standard in Ontario, there was a desire by the users of HIGH FIVE to have a specific benchmark of excellence to reach. It was not enough for organizations to train their leaders, conduct assessments on programs, and review their policies and procedures; they wanted more! The HIGH FIVE Accreditation Process was officially launched in 2006. It was based on the model of the International Standards Organization (ISO) and developed in consultation with the ISO and the National Quality Institute (NQI).

As HIGH FIVE continued to grow, the desire and needs of the sport and recreation industry did as well. The standard was launched nationally in 2007 and began to be delivered across the country. In 2009 HIGH FIVE Sport was created for coaches to address the mental, social, emotional, and cognitive health and wellbeing of children within a competitive sport environment. As well a new online training was launched in 2012 called Healthy Minds for Healthy Children. It is a second level of training to be completed after either the PHCD or HIGH FIVE Sport training. Its focus is on providing engagement strategies for nurturing resiliency in children and providing insight into common mental health distress and disorders that children could be experiencing.

HIGH FIVE provides support to its organizations through providing access to regional networking meetings and mentoring, promising practices, resources for parents, reduced pricing for training and resources, and online reports through the database to assist with planning, program and policy gap assessment, risk management audits, and building a case for support for council/board etc. Through these benefits, an organization learns where they stand, provincially and nationally, as a deliverer of quality children's sports and recreation programs and is recognized for being a quality service provider.4

HIGH FIVE is delivered to organizations through Authorized Providers in provinces/territories across Canada. Any organization that provides sports or recreation to children ages 6 to 12 can register with HIGH FIVE through their local provider.

  • 1. “What is HIGH Five.” HIGH FIVE. < http://www.highfive.org/what-high-five > 21 May 2013.
  • 2. “Mission, Vision, and Principles.” HIGH FIVE. < http://www.highfive.org/what-high-five/mission-vision-and-principles > 21 May 2013.
  • 3. “Get Trained.” HIGH FIVE. < http://www.highfive.org/take-action/get-trained > 21 May 2013.
  • 4. “Registration Benefits.” HIGH FIVE. < http://www.highfive.org/take-action/registration-benefits > 21 May 2013.