The Ontario Ministry of Education approved a revised Health and Physical Education (HPE) curriculum for September 2015. The last time the curriculum was updated was in 1998 – 17 years ago – before issues like internet safety, bullying, equity and inclusivity, concussions, and mental health were widely and publicly discussed in school. The curriculum was designed to better equip students with the knowledge they need to thrive in an ever-changing world.
The fundamentals of the subjects being covered
The HPE curriculum covers much more than discussions about sexuality and anatomy. It offers health lessons on nutrition and the importance of physical activity and mental health and well-being. There are five main areas of focus for students in Grades 1 through 12.
1. School, Family, and Community Support
2. Physical Activity as the Vehicle for Learning
3. Physical and Emotional Safety
4. Student-Centred, Skill-Based Learning
5. Balance, Integrated Learning Relevance to Student’s Lives
The Fully Alive program for Family Life Education
In Ontario Catholic schools, Family Life Education is taught through the lens of the Fully Alive program in Grades 1 through 8. This program was designed under the Guidance of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario. The teachings focus on a distinctive Catholic view of human life, sexuality, marriage and family, its goal is to complement what parents are teaching their children at home. There are five themes of the Fully Alive program:
Theme 1: Created and Loved by God
Theme 2: Living in Relationship
Theme 3: Created Sexual: Male and Female
Theme 4: Growing in Commitment
Theme 5: Living in the World
New resources to help Catholic schools
The Institute for Catholic Education (ICE) views the new curriculum as an opportunity for parents and teachers to talk to students about a distinctively Catholic view of human life, sexuality, marriage and family. They have developed supplementary resources to help educators deliver the provincial curriculum in a way that is consistent with Catholic values. Take some time to review these resources. They held explain how the curriculum is being taught in our schools.
When students ask questions outside of the curriculum
Our teachers use grade-specific resources to help guide their instruction and classroom conversation. They are able to respond to the many questions that an adolescent learner may have about sexuality and human development. If a student asks a question that is not covered as part of the approved curriculum, teachers reassuringly recommend that it’s best for the student to have a conversation at home with their family.
Parents are the primary educators
We recognize that parents are the primary educators in their children’s lives. Parents can depend on our Family Life Education program to help with these teachings throughout their child’s journey. Should you have concerns about the material being covered in class, the first step is to speak with your school principal. They know your child and are prepared to answer any questions you may have.
Before Theme 3 of the Fully Alive program, a letter of information will be sent home to parents. We encourage parents to visit the following websites to further inform themselves of the content of Theme 3: Created Sexual.