Sex Education Overhaul Applauded

Local sexual health educators say the province’s overhaul of the sexual education curriculum is long overdue.

The last time the curriculum was changed in Ontario was in 1998.

Come September, students in Grade 1 will learn the proper names for their body parts, while students in Grade 2 learn about consent and the basic stages of human development.

“It’s important for young children to understand what’s appropriate and not appropriate touching to decrease the risk, for them,” says manager of Sexual Health at the Middlesex-London Health Unit Shaya Dhinsa. “If they have been inappropriately touched they need to know how to communicate, where to go and how to get help.”

In Grade 3 students will learn about sexual orientation, same sex relationships and how to navigate the internet safely.

“Things have changed. Children will ask why a classmate may have same sex parents,” Dhinsa tells BlackburnNews.com. “It is happening, it’s just a matter of incorporating it into the curriculum because that is a part of some families.”

The physical changes of puberty will be taught in Grade 4, instead of Grade 4. In Grade 6 teachers will talk to students about gender identity and healthy relationships followed by sexually transmitted infections and contraception in Grade 7 and 8.

Dhinsa says the majority of people who seek help from the sexual health clinics public health offers are about 15 years old. She notes it is important for children to learn how to protect themselves at an early age.

Education Minister Liz Sandals says parents can pull their children from sex education classes, if they so choose.