New sex ed and mental health curriculum needed

Our news & views

October 17, 2012

Ontario's largest physical health and education association released a new report calling on the province to fully implement Ontario's elementary and secondary Health and Physical Education (H&PE) curriculum.

According to Ophea,  the province withdrew the human development/sex ed components of the new elementary school H& PE curriculum in 2010 after a small group objected to it. At that time, the Premier said the curriculum would be re-introduced after further consultations.

But no consultations have been forthcoming, and the elementary curriculum continues to lack 10% of its content.

The impasse in the elementary curriculum has had a ripple effect on the new H&PE curriculum for secondary schools. That curriculum is ready to go, but the province has been unable/unwilling to implement it.

The report from Ophea highlights the state of child and youth health in Ontario, and the potential of the revised health and physical education (H&PE) curriculum to address some of these health issues.

People For Education Viewpoint:

We should consider health one of the basics in our education system.  Elementary schools already struggle to deliver strong health and physical education programs. Only 44% have specialist H&PE teachers, and many report that health and phys ed gets squeezed out by pressure to improve scores in reading, writing and math.

The secondary school H&PE curriculum has not been updated since 1998 – long before issues such as cyber-bullying existed, and long before anyone knew how important it was to talk to students about how to maintain their mental health.

Because what we measure has an impact on where we focus funding, resources and time, People for Education is beginning an initiative to expand the measures of success for education to include things like health and well-being.

Learn more at our 2012 Conference.

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