The facts about the sexual heath curriculum taught in Ontario
Published September 25, 2023 at 2:10 pm
Ontario’s sexual heath curriculum became the subject of protests across the province last week.
However, the organizers behind the march say they are protesting the “indoctrination of students” and the “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity curriculum,” according to information on their website.
Sex education isn’t new in schools – in fact, it dates back to at least 1905 in Ontario. There have been many updates and revisions to the curriculum, the most recent from Doug Ford’s government in 2019.
Since 2019, the curriculum hasn’t changed in Ontario.
Here is what’s in the curriculum:
The human development and sexual health curriculum starts in Grade 1 with basics about the correct names of body parts, and teaching students to “respect for themselves and their bodies” and to “ask for help in case of illness, injury or abuse.”
In Grade 2, students learn more about how their body changes (loosing baby teeth) and the the basic stages of human development.
In Grade 3, the curriculum outlines healthy relationships and visible differences between people.
In Grade 4, students learn about the physical changes that happen during puberty as children enter puberty earlier: on average, girls enter puberty between the ages of eight and 13 and boys enter puberty between the ages of nine and 14.
The first mention of personal identity, including sexual orientation, is in Grade 5. In this grade, students learn about identity and also about the reproductive system, and how the body changes during puberty.
In Grade 6, students learn about how “stereotypes — and assumptions about gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, culture and abilities — can affect how a person feels about themselves, their feelings of belonging and relationships with others.”
In Grade 7, the curriculum covers the concept of consent and sexually transmitted diseases.
Finally, in Grade 8, the curriculum covers “gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation, and to identify factors that can help all young people to develop positive personal identities.”
In this grade, students also learn about safe and healthy decisions about sexual activity, along with abstinence, contraception and consent.
Also, back in 2019, the Ontario government enacted a new policy allowing parents and guardians to exempt students from the “human development and sexual health education component” of the curriculum.
So parents can pull their kids out of these classes if they choose.
For more information on the curriculum, see the Province of Ontario Human Development and Sexual Health education outline here.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising