The parenting world in Ontario has been a blaze the last few days with discussion over the newly released updated version of the Health and Physical Education curriculum for grades 1 to 8 and 9 to 12. The changes to the curriculum were originally drafted five years ago, in 2010, but were set aside for political reason. The curriculum as it currently stands has not been updated since 1998. The new curriculum, which will be implemented across all school boards in Ontario, will begin in September 2015.
The controversy about the new curriculum revolves around discussion of controversial sexual education topics, many that are in the current curriculum, but will now be introduced at younger ages. New topics will be included in the curriculum that broach discussions relating to the changes in the last seventeen years including technology use, digital photos, and cell phones.
Supporters of the new curriculum state that this update is long overdue, that it reflects the changing times and intends to provide school age kids with facts and information before their friends or the internet provides a confusing picture for them. With the average age that children enter puberty decreasing, kids need to learn about puberty and their body at a younger age. Additionally, the old curriculum was written before same-sex marriage became legal in Canada and this topic should and will be included in the new curriculum.
Those opposed to the new curriculum state that the government is overstepping and teaching children things that should be taught at home. They oppose specific topics such as homosexuality, gender fluidity, masturbation, anal and oral sex, and sexting, either due to the age that they are introduced (either specifically taught or as an optional prompt) or oppose to the topics being mentioned at all in school. They fear that discussing these topics will encourage kids to be more sexually active or try things they wouldn’t otherwise know about. Others are opposed for religious or moral reasons.
The internet – Facebook, newspapers, online blogs, etc – have come down hard either in favour or against the new curriculum. Depending on the source, you may read that children will be learning about sex in grade one, be taught to question their own gender in grade three, told it’s okay to begin dating in grade four, encouraged to masturbate in grade six, and taught all the facts and how-to’s of oral and anal sex in grade seven. Whoa, whoa! (FYI – none of these are true!). We at LondonMoms strongly encourage anyone who is interested or worried about the new curriculum to READ IT. Knowledge is power and it always makes for a better discussion.
Here is the curriculum for grades one through eight: HEALTH AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION
Here is the curriculum for grades nine through twelve: HEALTH AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION