BY CARMNE PONCIANO
This September, students at the elementary level will be introduced to an updated sex-ed curriculum called The Talk.
The curriculum hasn’t been updated for 17 years, so it was much needed. To break it down, the updated curriculum will be teaching the proper names for body parts and genitals in Grade 1, introducing same-sex relationships in Grade 3, and teaching online safety, text messaging and the dangers of sending sexual pictures in addition to puberty in Grade 4. In Grade 6, students will be taught about masturbation, healthy relationships and consent followed by the risks of “sexting” and sexually transmitted diseases in Grade 7.
However, the new curriculum is getting mixed reviews from parents all over the province. Educators believe it needed updating because of the influence the Internet has on kids. But many parents are upset with the new changes because they feel that it is too much information at a young age.
Have they stopped and thought about the fact that kids have easy access to the Internet?
By introducing this concept at a young age, students will probably have a better, more mature understanding of the concept than when most of us had sex-ed growing up.
Some parents have an issue with the concept of teaching about same-sex marriage, especially in Catholic schools. However, we live in a democracy where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2006 and same-sex parents are nothing new to the younger generation. It is now part of Canadian living and society.
Up to 2,000 angry parents protested outside of Queen’s Park on Feb. 24 against the new curriculum, however, parents need to remember that the curriculum is taught at school – values and morals are taught at home. Therefore, the update is a good thing.
The Internet has become part of the way we live. It has fast tracked the younger generation to be familiar with concepts that the older generations were exposed too much later in life. Students will be taught in a way that is in keeping with their age but in a supervised and safe environment, so students and parents will benefit.