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Health Curriculum – Human Development and Sexual Health

Health Curriculum – Human Development and Sexual Health

Rainbow District School Board is committed to ensuring that all students feel safe and valued in their schools and school communities.

What will students learn about human development and sexual health?

An overview of the Human Development and Sexual Health expectations in The Ontario Curriculum: Health and Physical Education, Grades 1-8, 2019 is outlined below.

Educators will teach the Human Development and Sexual Health Education component of the HPE curriculum to elementary students in the spring, allowing sufficient time to get to know students to ensure that we teach the curriculum in a developmentally and age-appropriate manner.

In accordance with Ministry Policy/Program Memorandum No. 162​, elementary schools will send letters to families of students in Grades 1 to 8 at least 20 school days before human development and sexual health lessons take place.

While parents may choose to exempt their children from human development and sexual health lessons, we hope this occurs only after careful consideration.

We want all students to be part of discussions that build respect and understanding, discussions that help all students feel safe and valued.

This includes students learning about diversity and equity, including different kinds of families, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation or any of the other human rights protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

To help families feel comfortable with what students will learn, we encourage parents/guardians to talk with their child’s teacher and/or school Principal.

Human Development and Sexual Health Exemption Guidelines

Parents/guardians may choose to have their children in Grades 1 to 8 exempted from instruction related to the Human Development and Sexual Health expectations on an individual basis.

Exemptions are limited to instruction related to the Human Development and Sexual Health expectations found in strand D of The Ontario Curriculum: Health and Physical Education, Grades 1-8, 2019. (See overview below.)

Students will not be exempted from instruction related to any other expectations in this curriculum or related to expectations in other curriculum subjects.

Parents/guardians must review the curriculum expectations provided by grade.

Parents/guardians must complete an Exemption Form for each child and submit the completed form to the Principal of the child’s school at least five days before the period of instruction.

Exemption will be granted only for instruction related to all the Human Development and Sexual Health expectations in a student’s grade, not for instruction related to selected expectations or groups of expectations.

There will be no academic penalty for an exemption.

Teachers will provide the dates for instruction of strand D – Human Development and Sexual Health expectations 20 days before instruction begins.

A meeting with the Principal will be scheduled with parents/guardians to discuss options selected no later than five days before the start of the period of instruction.

OVERVIEW of expectations related to Human Development and Sexual Health by Grade

Grade 1

When children know how to care for and use the correct names of their body parts, they build understanding and respect for themselves and their bodies, and can communicate clearly and ask for help in case of illness, injury or abuse.

Students will learn:

  • to identify body parts, including genitalia, by their proper names
  • to use positive language when describing their bodies
  • about their senses and how they function
  • basic good hygiene habits (for example, washing your hands, using tissues)

Grade 2

Helping children to understand that their bodies will change (for example, losing baby teeth) can help them:

  • prepare for and adjust to those changes
  • appreciate what their bodies are able to do and perceive them positively

Students will learn:

  • the basic stages of human development (infancy, childhood, adolescence) and related body changes
  • good hygiene habits for oral health (for example, brushing your teeth, flossing, visiting the dentist regularly)
  • to appreciate what their bodies can do

Grade 3

To foster healthy relationships, students will learn what healthy relationships look like. Students also learn about what makes them unique and how to show respect for all.

Students will learn:

  • about characteristics of healthy relationships and consent (for example, accepting differences, listening, stating and respecting personal boundaries, being respectful, being honest, communicating openly)
  • describe ways to respond to bullying and other challenges (for example, peer pressure, being left out)
  • about factors and habits that can affect physical and emotional development (for example, safe environment, caring adults, feeling like you belong, appreciating what your body can do and building a healthy body image, sleep, food, physical activity)
  • how visible differences (for example, skin, hair and eye colour, clothing, physical ability) and invisible differences (for example, learning abilities, cultural values and beliefs, different types of families) make each person unique
  • ways of showing respect for differences in others

Grade 4

Today, children enter puberty earlier: on average, girls enter puberty between the ages of 8 and 13 and boys enter puberty between the ages of 9 and 14. Learning about puberty before students may fully experience it helps prepare young people for changes in their bodies, emotions and social relationships.

Students will learn:

  • the physical changes that happen during puberty, and the emotional and social impact these changes can have on a developing child
  • how personal hygiene needs may change during puberty (for example, the increased importance of regular bathing)

Grade 5

By Grade 5, students have developed some self-awareness and coping skills, and have also learned critical thinking and reflective skills.

Puberty can be stressful and helping students to understand changes in their bodies can help them cope. Students will also continue to learn the importance of showing acceptance and respect for themselves and others, including those who may be entering puberty earlier or later than their peers.

Students will learn:

  • about factors that may affect the development of a person’s understanding of themselves and their personal identity, including their sexual orientation (for example, body image, self­ acceptance)
  • about the reproductive system, and how the body changes during puberty
  • about the process of menstruation and sperm production
  • to describe emotional and interpersonal stresses related to puberty

Grade 6

As children grow older and enter adolescence, understanding how they and their peers may be affected by the many changes they are experiencing helps them build a healthy sense of who they are.

By Grade 6, students have developed more self-awareness and coping skills, as well as critical thinking and reflective skills, to solve problems and examine Issues. They will apply these skills to learning about stereotypes and assumptions.

By examining and challenging these stereotypes and assumptions, they continue to learn about respect for others, and build self-confidence to build a foundation for healthy relationships.

Students will learn:

  • an understanding about the impacts of viewing sexually explicit media, including pornography
  • the physical, social and emotional changes that may occur in adolescence (for example, body growth, skin changes, increasing influence of peers, increased intensity of feelings) and how students can build a healthy foundation for relationships
  • to make decisions In their personal relationships that show respect for themselves and others, recognizing the Importance of consent and clear communication
  • how stereotypes – and assumptions about gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, culture and abilities – can affect how a person feels about themselves, their feelings of belonging and relationships with others
  • appropriate ways to respond to and challenge assumptions, stereotypes, homophobia and racism

Grade 7

Students need information and skills to make sound decisions about their health and well-being before they face a situation where they may need that information.

Research has shown that teaching about sexual health and human development does not increase sexual behaviour and can actually prevent risky activity.

Students will learn:

  • the importance of having a shared understanding with a partner about: reasons for delaying sexual activity until they are older, the concept of consent and how to communicate consent, and the need to clearly communicate and understand decisions about sexual activity in a healthy relationship
  • to identify common sexually transmitted and blood borne infections (STBBIs) and describe their symptoms
  • how to prevent STBBIs and avoid becoming a parent before they are ready, including delaying first intercourse and other sexual activities until they are older, and using condoms and other forms of protection consistently
  • about the physical, emotional, social and psychological factors to consider when making sexual health decisions (for example, the risk of STBBIs is or of becoming a parent before they are ready, emotional readiness, sexual orientation, cultural teachings, and impact on other relationships)
  • how relationships with others and sexual health may be affected by physical and emotional
    changes in puberty and adolescence

Grade 8

Students continue to build their understanding of factors that support positive, healthy choices, including building a deeper understanding and appreciation of themselves and their identity. Students are also exploring healthy ways to engage in evolving and new relationships.

Students will learn about:

  • things that could affect someone’s ability to make safe and healthy decisions about sexual activity
  • sources of support with respect to sexual health (for example parents or other trusted adults, health professionals, in-school resources, local community groups and religious, spiritual, and cultural leaders)
  • gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation, and to identify factors that can help all young people to develop positive personal identities
  • abstinence, contraception and consent in order to make safe and healthy decisions about sexual activity
  • benefits, risks and drawbacks associated with relationships involving different degrees of sexual intimacy
Health and Physical Education Curriculum - 2019