Ontario’s Sex Education Curriculum: A...

Ontario’s Sex Education Curriculum: A Deep Dive

by Mara Hurst
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

In Ontario, Sexual Education is a mandated part of the curriculum. Contrary to belief, sex education happens all through elementary school and high school. It covers a wide range of topics that may not be previously discussed in the home environment. It can be an uncomfortable discussion to have, but it is a good idea to learn what to expect from sexual education.Listed below are the Ministry of Education’s current guidelines on sex education.

Grade One

Sex Education starts in grade one and covers a few different subjects. The children in grade one will learn the proper names of their body parts and how to speak in a positive manner about their bodies. Additionally, they will learn about their five senses. The children will also discuss proper hygiene practices which may include frequent bathing, washing their hands, using tissues, and covering their mouth when they cough.

Grade Two

Moving up to second grade, the children will continue to figure out positive language when discussing their bodies and finding appreciation for all their body can do. The children will begin to learn about the various changes happening in their bodies like losing their baby teeth. Speaking of teeth, this is the age where they will learn all about proper oral hygiene. Teachers will discuss more changes the children may experience in the future and remind them they can reach out to a trusted adult if they ever feel confused or scared.

Grade Three

In grade three, children will begin to discuss healthy relationships. This will cover all relationships, friendships, familial, and romantic. Teachers will discuss consent, setting healthy boundaries, communicating, and respect. Children will also learn about visual differences between them and how it is important to respect and appreciate these differences. They will also learn about invisible differences, like culture or religion, and to respect those as well. From this, children will discuss bullying and how to respond to it.

Grade Four

In recent years, children have started going through puberty earlier. The average age for girls is between 8 and 13, and the average age for boys is between 9 and 14. Because of this, discussions of puberty must happen sooner so they are prepared. The sexual education classes will start discussing specific physical changes and what to expect from them as well as how hygiene habits should adapt with these changes.

Grade Five

In grade five, the discussion of puberty gets more specific. Sexual education will specifically mention how sperm is produced and the menstrual cycle. They will then discuss reproductive systems and the changes the systems will face during puberty. Additionally, they will discuss aspects of a person’s understanding of themselves such as sexual orientation and body image.

Grade Six

By sixth grade, children have grown both physically and mentally. They understand cause and effect and that certain choices will impact their life. Similarly to grade three, they will discuss healthy relationships through consent and respect. They will learn about stereotypes, homophobia, and racism. Also, they will learn about making good choices for themselves and not give into peer pressure. In this grade, there will be some more discussion about sex including the impacts of watching sexually explicit material.

Grade Seven

When discussing sexual education, most of us have a preconceived idea of what it entails. Grade seven is where these assumptions take place. Now, the students will discuss sex and all that comes with it. They will dive into sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy as well as the physical and emotional impacts of engaging in sex and sexual activities. Students will review consent, understanding, and healthy relationships and how sex fits into these topics.

Grade Eight

As of the eighth grade, students will continue to learn about all previously mentioned subjects. On top of that they will learn about contraception and abstinence and what may drive a person to make certain sexual decisions. Gender identity and sexual orientation will be explored as a subject with special consideration of how to take these things and shape a positive self-image. The benefits, risks and consequences of sexual activities will be discussed as well.

Sexual education can be a worrisome, confusing, and sometimes avoided part of the Ontario Curriculum. However, it is important to educate everyone in this subject to create a positive, healthy society that makes informed decisions about themselves and their reproductive health. Sexual education is not something that should end after elementary and high school, it is something that should be continued throughout life.




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