The new Ontario Curriculum for Health and Phys Ed...It has been in a number of newspapers...I am sure you can find it if you need to:-)
I really am only ticked on a few things...not the whole.
Dalton McGuinty has made some changes that are to start in September in the schools in Ontario. Lots of people are up in arms about it and the protest rallies are rolling out...
How much of it do I disagree with? Maybe I have a different perspective then most people in my circle...which is fine. We are all unique individuals with unique perspectives...life would be boring otherwise.
This post focuses on the sex ed part of the curriculum...if you want to read it all, you can find it here.
The first change, and I am not sure if it really is a change...but the kids are going to start learning about body parts in grade 1. You know, the proper words...boys have a penis, girls have a vagina etc...I don't see an issue with that.
Why not? I think it is important for kids to have a sense of reality. Cute little nick names are inappropriate (my opinion) and become confusing.
The other issues that they address in grade 1 are hygiene, 5 senses, and healthy and unhealthy feelings in a relationship (potential abuse, bullying).
Grade 2 - They will cover the stages of human development, body changes and factors that contribute to healthy growth and living.
No problems there...it is good for them to start learning that...properly...
Again, in grade 2 they talk about how you learn that your body is yours...and no one should be touching it...and that it is ok to tell an adult when something uncomfortable happens.
Oh, and they cover oral hygiene...
Grade 3 - building healthy respectful relationships.
This is also the grade where they start to talk about visible differences (colours, disabilities etc...) and invisible differences (personal values, beliefs, gender identity, sexual orientation). I think this is where a lot of people start to get up in arms about it. Specifically the last 2 mentioned.
identify the characteristics of healthy relationships (e.g., accepting
differences, being inclusive, communicating openly, listening, showing
mutual respect and caring, being honest) and describe ways of overcoming
challenges (e.g., bullying, exclusion, peer pressure, abuse) in a relationship
We all have our different thoughts, values and beliefs on this topic. But the reality is, it is a part of everyday lives now. It is seen everywhere and to ignore it and deny it is wrong. That would be raising our kids with a false sense of reality. To learn in grade 3 that you need to respect people, no matter what; that you need to learn to communicate openly with others, that you need to be inclusive...is in no way interfering with what I choose to teach my kids at home.
So...they learn how to build and maintain a healthy relationship in class...they learn to look past invisible and visible differences...and to build relationship with the PERSON...not the value, belief or sexual orientation...I don't see the issue there...
Grade 4 talks about the physical and emotional changes associated with puberty...it is happening earlier now...we have already, by this point talked with our kids quite openly about their bodies and by this point they already know it all. This is a class that is needed...just because we are open and discuss these things in our home, doesn't mean that the family who lives next door does...and things are happening earlier...and there is more to blame then just education (have you seen the TV shows/commercials and movies these kids watch now a days?, that is another controversial post on its own;-)
They talk in grade 4 about the "feelings" of wanting to be more then friends. This is applicable at this age...I am not sure how early in the year I heard from Cutie Pie that her friends were "dating"...she is in grade 3...Cutie Pie knows what our stance is in regards to dating, so no matter what she learns, if I have done my job, it shouldn't matter, and I should be able to trust her judgements as she grows.
Oh and the favourite topic in grade 4...personal hygiene...no questions or issues with that one at all:-)
Then we get to grade 5...reproduction, menstruation and fetilization (whether natural - penis/vagina or mechanical) sounds fine to me...they also learn about emotional and interpersonal stresses and how to manage it. No matter what the cause is, this is absolutely necessary for kids to learn.
How do these kids feel about issues they can control in their lives (positive or negative attitudes, respect etc..), issues that they can't control in their lives (gender identity and sexual orientation being a few - along with disabilities and skin colour) I mention these two because this is where the controversy seems to come from.
Whatever your beliefs are, if they are so important to rally and fight things...then this shouldn't be a problem. You will be that parent who will be ready to openly discuss the teachings and let them know where you stand. I truly believe that the followup discussions are key to whatever they are learning...even if it is about bullying!!
Again, to learn how to handle stress at this age is vital...Have you spent time with a kid this age lately? They have stress...it doesn't matter what family you are being raised in...there is stress (I know!!). Whatever the stress is related to doesn't really make a difference. Just the idea that they will learn some healthy coping methods is good for me to know and to build on...
It talks as well, in grade 5 about relationships. That if you choose to be in a relationship at this age, you need to be prepared to deal with the hurt and responsibility that ensues. It talks about healthy ways to end a relationship...how to show someone you like them...This one seems a bit much...to a point. But I can see where they are coming from.
Like I said...with kids in school right now...grade 3 and grade 6...I hear all about the relationships their friends are in. I have even been told that a couple of my kids had been asked to date someone...my kids responses were - We don't do that...we don't have time, etc...because of what we taught them, they are aware of the complications and consequences of relationships at any age. I cannot be with them at school...and they are not the "norm" I guess...considering how many boyfriend/girlfriend talks I have heard...
I trust that I have taught them right and I know, because they have, that they feel open to talk about these issues with us. I think I did something right so far;-)
Grade 6, grade 6, grade 6...here is where I start to have a minor issue...this is from the document:
describe how they can build confidence and lay a foundation for healthy relationships by acquiring a clearer understanding of the physical, social, and emotional changes that occur during adolescence (e.g., physical: voice changes, skin changes, body growth; social: changing social relationships, increasing influence of peers; emotional: increased intensity of feelings, new interest in relationships with boys or girls, confusion and questions about changes)Doesn't sound bad...but one of the examples...
Teacher prompt: “Having erections, wet dreams, and vaginal lubrication are normalHere is where it gets nitty gritty;-)
things that happen as a result of physical changes with puberty. Exploring your body
by touching or masturbating is something that many people will do and find pleasurable. It is common and is not harmful and is one way of learning about your body.”
While I am ok with the kids learning about their physical changes, lubrications, wet dreams, erections...I have an issue with them learning, in grade 6, about masturbation. Maybe this is where people will start to throw stones at me...I have been ok with it all until we get to here.
I think that maybe this goes a bit too far...the whole masturbation thing. In grade 6, I think it should be basics, still. Like how babies are made, body changes, and how to deal emotionally with the physical changes...I think it could open a whole other door at this age...and when there is age of majority set in our country...I do think that it puts that age of consent into jeopardy...
And that is all I am saying about that...:-)
They will also learn about dating relationships in Grade 6. And I am ok with that again.
I am going to stop at Grade 6...because by the time they hit Grade 7 they have seen and learned much more then I have ever taught them...because that is what happens when kids get together. Whether in the school system or the homeschooling system...relationships are built regardless...
In a nutshell, to try and wrap up my feelings on this whole issue...I stand firm in the belief that I have already started teaching my kids right from wrong, healthy versus unhealthy, our morals, values and beliefs and that they will choose to do with that what they will.
I cannot hide my kids from the world. Whether I agree or disagree with others choices...is it right to teach my kids to "dislike" that person? Or, as a Christian, is it more important to build that relationship, love everyone, be respectful and SHINE in our world?
I choose the latter...I choose to raise my kids to not be ignorant to the world, to not be naive when they are posed with a situation...I also look forward to the family discussions that we will have after these issues are taught in class. What better way to keep lines of communication open with our children and what better way to teach them how to live a life that they can look at and be proud of their decisions and choices.
BUT...this is my opinion...I have been through a lot in my life...I am in a different stage then others and I KNOW that I will receive some backlash about this...and I am OK with that:-)