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Sex-ed updated for digital age

New sex education curriculum updated to reflect the digital age was released Monday morning. The province is also providing parents with resources to help them understand and participate in what will be taught to their children.

Starting September 2015, the updated curriculum is to reflect health, safety and well-being realities faced by today’s students. Updates to the curriculum include healthy relationships, consent, mental health, online safety and the risks of “sexting” as well as the traditional nutrition, exercise and wellness.

“The growth and development section of the elementary Health and Physical Education curriculum has not been updated since 1998 – before the widespread use of social media and smartphones,” said Liz Sandals, education minister, in a statement. “Studies have shown that girls are entering puberty as early as seven years old, which is significantly earlier than in previous generations… Studies have shown that the vast majority of parents want schools to provide sexual health education.”

sexting2The revision of the Health and Physical Education curriculum began in 2007 and involved parents, students, teachers, faculties of education, universities, colleges and numerous stakeholder groups including the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, The Ontario Public Health Association and the Ontario Healthy Schools Coalition. More than 70 health-related organizations submitted reports for consideration and thousands of people provided feedback.

Children in Grades 1 through 3 will learn about “respectful communications,” while those in 4 to 6 will learn about “the risks of posting or sharing sexual images or information.”

More information specifically on sexting will be taught in Grade 7 and up, the guide says.

Click on these links for more information:
Quick Facts for Parents: Online Safety, Including Risk of Sexting

Quick Facts for Parents: Healthy Relationships and Consent

  A Parent Guide: Learn More About Human Development and Sexual Health in the Health and Physical Education Curriculum, Grades 1-6

A Parent Guide: Learn More About Human Development and Sexual Health in the Health and Physical Education Curriculum, Grades 7-12

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