Schools and sexuality
Ontario government will help students understand fun
Author: Melinda Nagy
The Ontario government announced on Monday, Feb. 23, 2015 that they plan on introducing a new sex education curriculum in the Fall 2015 semester. Several articles were written in response to this announcement; I also heard about it on the radio. According to a news report I heard on News Talk CJME Radio from Feb 23, 2015, they claim, “Ontario will take the lead starting in September with specific sexual health topics taught to students as low as Grade 1. That’s when they’ll learn the proper names of reproductive body parts. Same-sex relationships will first be introduced in Grade 3, puberty and online safety, text messaging and ‘sexual pictures’ will be taught in Grade 4.”
As a parent, I feel that sexual education should be taught in schools. Schools have been able in the past to educate students in a non-judgemental, clinical way about changes to developing physical bodies. The introduction of new topics such as online safety and sexual pictures has also been covered in computer classes in the past. Unfortunately, none of this will prevent poor judgement or lack of parental guidance in the process of growth and development of children into adults.
I began teaching my children about health and sexuality at age four at home. I taught age-appropriate topics based on their development and proclivities, since each of my children developed differently at different times. I chose to use a clinical approach, discussing growth and developments expectations a year or two before each critical stage, allowing them to explore and discuss attraction and crush while explaining that their are different types of relationships and reassuring them that we would support and love them no matter what they were experiencing or noticing in the world around them.
We also discussed critical behaviour issues related to these topics including bullying, respect for others’ differences, and peer pressure. We covered masturbation in appropriate behaviours public and private, intercourse and reproductive principles, and abstention as a reliable method to prevent teen pregnancy. We also covered how teen pregnancy relates to family poverty cycles, how education relates to income potential, and how marriage is not only a romantic concept but also a complex commitment that requires work. We covered blended families, homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgender.
The reality was that my husband and I were able to talk to our children about uncomfortable and necessary life issues; not every parent has the ability to do this. There is also the reality that children will see these complex relationships on television and in movies and will form their own opinions if they are not educated about the factual evidence regarding sexuality and development of identity as they grow up.
I think most parents have nurtured their children well and are prepared to accept these stages even if they want to protect their children from them. However, a minimum education in schools will help those children who do not receive timely advice from home to be prepared for and to accept the variety of development obstacles and benefits they will experience as they grow. If it is delivered well, it may eliminate the harassment and segregation of student populations that come from not understanding these stages or lack of respect for individual development processes.