What parents need to know about the new Ontario sex-ed curriculum
The Ontario government has released the new sexual-education curriculum, which includes details of when and what students will be taught.
The province says the curriculum, for Grades 1 to 8, has been updated following feedback from the public and consultation with experts.
The Ministry of Education says the new 320-page Health and Physical Education Curriculum focuses on various topics including mental health, sexual health and consent.
It also examines the effects and risks of substance use, including cannabis and vaping.
The new curriculum replaces a much-criticized teaching plan brought in after the Progressive Conservatives took power last year.
The government has broken down what students will learn and when. Here’s a brief guide of what to expect and what’s changed:
- In Grade 1, students will be taught to identify body parts, including genitalia (penis, testicles, vagina and vulva)
- In Grade 1, students will be taught to use body-positive language
- In Grade 1, students will learn about habits and behaviour, including vaping
- In Grade 3, students will learn about the different types of legal and illegal substance use
- In Grade 5, students will learn to identify the factors that affect the development of a person’s self-concept, including their sexual orientation
- In Grade 5, students will learn about the negative effects of making homophobic comments
- In Grade 8, students will learn about gender identity (male, female, Two-Spirit, transgender) and learn more about sexual orientation (heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual)
- Under the former Liberal government’s plan, gender identity and sexual orientation was to be taught in Grade 6. It has been delayed until Grade 8
- In Grade 8, students will learn about abstinence, contraception and the use of suitable protection to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted blood borne infections (STBBIs)
- Parents can now opt their child out of sex-ed lessons with a new policy put into place – this must be completed by Nov. 30
- The new curriculum has a stronger and earlier emphasis on mental health, starting in Kindergarten
The new curriculum will go into effect at the start of the 2019 school year.
To view the full Health and Physical Education curriculum for Grades 1 to 8, click here.