ON “Health & Physical Ed” curriculum embeds sexual & gender politics

I recently decided to read through the Ontario Health and Physical Education document to see what all the fuss was about regarding the presentation of “Human Development and Sexual Health” to Ontario’s Grades 1 to 8 children — children who range from 6 years of age to 13 years of age.

Here are the learning topics, slightly shortened, according to grade level and applicable page numbers. My short analysis is in my Endnotes.

Grade 1 — Section C1.3 — Identity of body parts, including genitalia (P.93)

Grade 2 — Section C1.4 — Outline of the basic stages of human development and related bodily changes. Also, identity factors that are important for healthy growth and living throughout life. (P.108)

Grade 3 — Section C. 3.3 — Describe how visible differences and invisible differences make each person unique, and identify ways of showing respect for differences in others. (P.124)

Grade 4 — Section C1.5 — Describe the physical changes that occur in males and females at puberty and the emotional and social impacts that may result from these changes. (P.141)

Grade 5 — Section C2.4 — Describe emotional and interpersonal stresses related to puberty and identify strategies that they can apply to manage stress, build resilience, and enhance their mental health and emotional well-being. (P.158)

Grade 6 — Section C3.3 — Assess the effects of stereotypes, including homophobia and assumptions regarding gender roles and expectations, sexual orientation, gender expression, race, ethnicity or culture, mental health, and abilities, on an individual’s self-concept, social inclusion, and relationships with others, and propose appropriate ways of responding to and changing assumptions and stereotypes. (P.177)

Grade 7

  • Section 1.3 — Explain the importance of having a shared understanding with a partner about the following: delaying sexual activity until they are older; the reasons for not engaging in sexual activity; the concept of consent and how consent is communicated; and, in general, the need to communicate clearly with each other when making decisions about sexual activity in the relationship. (P.195)
  • Section C1.4 — Identify common sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and describe their symptoms. (P.196)
  • Section C1.5 — Identify ways of preventing STIs, including HIV, and/or unintended pregnancy, such as delaying first intercourse and other sexual activities until a person is older and using condoms consistently if and when a person becomes sexually active. (P.196)
  • Section C2.4 –Demonstrate an understanding of physical, emotional, social, and psychological factors that need to be considered when making decisions related to sexual health. (P.199)

Grade 8

  • Section C1.4 — Identify and explain factors that can affect an individual’s decisions about sexual activity and identify sources of support regarding sexual health, a community elder, a teacher, a religious leader, a parent or other trusted adult, a reputable website). (P.215)
  • Section C1.5 — Demonstrate an understanding of gender identity (e.g., male, female, two-spirited, transgender, transsexual, intersex), gender expression, and sexual orientation (e.g., heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual), and identify factors that can help individuals of all identities and orientations develop a positive self-concept. (P.216)
  • Section C2.4 — Demonstrate an understanding of aspects of sexual health and safety, including contraception and condom use for pregnancy and STI prevention, the concept of consent, and matters they need to consider and skills they need to use in order to make safe and healthy decisions about sexual activity. (P.218)
  • Section C3.3 — Analyse the attractions and benefits associated with being in a relationship, as well as the benefits, risks, and drawbacks, for themselves and others, of relationships involving different degrees of sexual intimacy. (P.220)


For summary tables of the relevant topics, see pages 224 and 225 of the document.

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Endnotes: For the most part, this curriculum document is thorough and well presented up to Grade 6. In fact, I would give that part of the document an “A.” However, I would give the Grades 7 and 8 section a “B” at most because of the very lack of inclusiveness it claims to cover, as well as being way over the top as far as what topics the government is expecting teachers to teach — as opposed to health care workers and/or parents.

Moreover, I would think having male and female students learning these topics together would sometimes be acutely embarrassing. At least that was my experience when I was teaching this subject in the public system when I first started teaching.

However, regarding the lack of inclusiveness, by basing most of the content regarding gender identity on the notion of gender as always being socially constructed, this curriculum document excludes all people of faith and what they might believe about being male or female, as well as such scientific biological and genetic evidence as XY and XX chromosomes.

Whatever. The crux of the matter is that this document is not going to be changed. In fact, even if the Ontario PCs were to gain power in 2018, they would not be able to change very much because the sexual and gender politics embedded in it are now law within the Ontario Human Rights Code — meaning that train has already left the station.

13 thoughts on “ON “Health & Physical Ed” curriculum embeds sexual & gender politics

  1. Pingback: Sandy: ON “Health & Phys Ed” curriculum embeds sexual & gender politics | Jack's Newswatch

  2. how in God’s name did we ever make it this far without the idiots that now run the education of our children. I swear the entire populace has gone stark raving mad.


  3. Old White Guy — Gone stark raving mad? It sure feels that way. Whatever happened to scientific inquiry? Or genetics? Like XY is a male and XX is a female? Why is it discriminatory to call a male a male? Just that it is. Sigh!


  4. One more thing Old White Guy. Don’t just blame the educators. This is a social issue. Check out this Google page on the description of gender as socially constructed. 373,000 entries. Or this one simply on a definition of gender? 2,600,000 entries. At least on this Google entry, there are some differences of opinion.

    So, in effect, the education system is simply responding to social and political pressures of the big cities (e.g., Toronto) — as it always has. My bet is it will take decades to balance things out — but it will happen eventually, just not in my lifetime.


  5. I too can abide this sex ed curriculum up to grade six…..then it should end, let the parents take over. By grades 7 & 8 the children and parents should feel comfortable talking about such matters, it’s all part of responsible parenting.


  6. I agree. The lunatics have taken over the asylum. Think of the person that developed Ontario’s program.


  7. Ken P. A certain person claimed to be responsible for this curriculum but he would only have signed off on it. Committees of experts and practitioners write curriculum. I have been on such committees. The irony on this one is that no one had the nerve to be listed. It just says a “group” at the end of the document. But, I had to write about this because in the ten years I have been retired, the world of gender politics has changed and most of us simply didn’t see it coming.


  8. Sandy, I so appreciate your analysis of the document in the Ontario Education system. Your thoughts are very well thought out and clarify many questions swirling around.
    Keep up the great blogging!


  9. With all the mess created by her party in the Canadian province of Ontario,( Ontariowe), wynne still has time to denounce the US State of Indiana’s “Religious Freedom” bill.


  10. With the Duffy trial to open tomorrow there’s not much more the media can cover while they perform this circus to ensure it wreaks as much havoc as possible for PM Harper and his party. It’s not about money, they don’t care about money when they let the millions to billions taken by the McGuinty/Wynne Liberals to retain power, oh no, it’s all about their high ethical standards.

    Michael Harris has written another bit of hateful screed against Harper, calling him a “born again” Christian. IMO insulting a PM for being a Christian, born again, whatever that entails, is litigious, we do have freedom of religion according to Trudeau’s Charter.

    Even Ezra Levant will be testifying as will Conservative Senators like Marjory LeBreton. Let’s hope the facts come out crystal clear given there’s speculation the rules of the Senate, whether they were not followed or were not clear with too many loop holes for expenditures to be abused. Someone in that place had to sign the checks and question remains did they check out the claims?


  11. Yea, I hear you Liz. Feel free to sound off here any time you like. I am going to try to find the time and energy to refute Paul Martin’s screeching this weekend. However, I heard that Minister Moore is making an infrastructure announcement and will likely wait for that. If you find any interesting links to anything about the economic topic, just leave it here or better yet, I’ll put up a post that can act as a forum if you like and always keep it at the top of the blog. Let me know.


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