Release curriculum, consult parents says advocacy group

Toronto, Monday June 3, 2013 – OPHEA’s (Ontario Physical and Health Education Association) summary document, ‘It’s Time to Take Action for Ontario’s Kids’, claims students are being disadvantaged because of a curriculum that is 15 years old.  The document states that “kids are using out-of-date strategies to deal with drug use, Schools lack the support they need to help students in distress (mental health problems), Students need to learn about healthy eating, and only 7% of children are meeting Canada’s physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes per day.”

In January 2010 the Ministry of Education released the new 2010 Gr. 1 to 8 Health and Physical Education curriculum, which includes three sections, each having 2 or three units of study (9 units in total):

Section Units 
Active Living:

  • Active Participation
  • Physical fitness
  • Safety

Movement Competence and Concepts:

  • Movement Skills and Concepts
  • Movement Strategies

Health Living:

  • Healthy Eating
  • Personal Safety and Injury Prevention
  • Substance Use, Addictions and Related Behaviours
  • Human Development and Sexual Health

After the release, concerns were expressed over some of the content within the Human Development and Sexual Health Strand (1 of 9 units… 2 or 3 lessons per year). In response, the Ministry of Education removed the controversial unit, and released the remaining document for teachers to implement.Teachers were to continue using the Sexual Health expectations in the 1998 Health document until parents could be consulted and amendments made to the new curriculum.

Therefore, the elementary curriculum is not 15 years behind – 8 units out of 9 have been implemented since 2010, However, the secondary curriculum is fifteen years old, and does need to be updated. OPHEA spokesperson Chris Markham stated, “There is an updated secondary document that is sitting on the shelf and the Ministry of Education will not release it until the entire elementary curriculum is in place.”

Why is the Ministry of Education withholding the secondary document because a small portion (1 unit of 9 … 3 lessons) of the elementary health document still needs input and potential amendments?

If secondary students are suffering in all of these areas that do not even apply to the one section that has been withheld, the answer is simple – Release the sections of the document (90+%) that build upon the learning in the 2010 Health and Physical Education Curriculum, work with those in the population who have concerns over the sexual health unit, and develop a solution with that is respectful of all communities.

That would be inclusive!