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New sex ed curriculum will be explained in pamphlet: Sandals

By Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

Minister of Education Liz Sandals at Our Lady of Lordes Catholic School in Toronto on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. (Dave Thomas/Toronto Sun)

Minister of Education Liz Sandals at Our Lady of Lordes Catholic School in Toronto on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. (Dave Thomas/Toronto Sun)

TORONTO - 

Parents curious about the controversial new sex education curriculum coming to Ontario schools this fall will be provided with pamphlets that explain what’s being taught from Grade 1 on, Education Minister Liz Sandals said Wednesday.

Ontario’s education ministry will also post the new physical and health education and health curriculum online later this winter, she said.

“We don’t expect parents to go wading through the health and phys ed curriculum, quite frankly, because the vast majority of it is phys ed and nutrition and all that sort of stuff,” Sandals said. “So, we will put out some pamphlets in easy-to-consume form.

“One of the things that we know that we have to do is have a lot of professional development for teachers this spring so that teachers are comfortable and prepared to teach the changes in the curriculum that will be occurring in the fall.”

The Kathleen Wynne government will introduce an updated sex ed curriculum in all public schools starting in September.

A previous attempt to revamp the curriculum was stalled after some parents complained that it would have introduced explicit material to children at too young an age and in a manner that offends family beliefs.

Although the new sex ed curriculum is not finished yet, Wynne confirmed it will address the issue of sexual consent starting in Grade 1 with exercises in listening and understanding body language.

That statement again caused concern by some groups who believe children in Grade 1 are too young for such material.

Sandals said the curriculum already addresses the issue through programs, for instance, that encourage empathy in young students.

“Broadly, consent can be in a lot of different contexts but absolutely in the context of talking to students about healthy sexual relationships, absolutely informed consent will be part of it,” she said.

Asked when children start learning about sex ed now, Sandals said kids learn their body parts beginning in Grade 1.

“Now, I had just considered that basic anatomy,” she said. “Some people seem to talk about sex ed. So I guess the current curriculum starts sex ed in Grade 1 if you think basic anatomy is sex ed.” 


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