The Ministry of Education's revised 2019 Elementary Health and Physical Education (HPE) curriculum was introduced on Aug. 21, 2019, and will be implemented in the 2019-20 school year. The revised curriculum and a breakdown of what students will learn in each grade can be found on the ministry's website, along with an overview of what has changed. In addition, the ministry has introduced learning about online safety and concussion prevention in Kindergarten. The 2019 Addendum to The Kindergarten Program will also be implemented this school year. No changes were made to the secondary HPE curriculum.
We are committed to implementing the curriculum in alignment with the Peel board's Equity and Inclusive Education Policy #54, the ministry's Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy, and our obligation to honour human rights that are protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Lesson plans will be available
To help families feel comfortable with what their children will learn, last year, the Peel District School Board shared lesson plans for the interim HPE curriculum with families. These plans, which are still available at www.peelschools.org/HPE, were developed by Curriculum staff to support Peel educators who deliver the elementary curriculum to students. These plans and other resources will be reviewed to ensure alignment with the revised 2019 HPE curriculum. Once finalized, they will again be shared on our board website.
Human Development and Sexual Health Education taught in the Spring
Peel staff will teach the new Human Development and Sexual Health Education component of the HPE curriculum to elementary students in the Spring. By then, educators have developed strong relationships with students and have a clear understanding of their maturity levels. This helps ensure that we teach the curriculum in a developmentally and age-appropriate manner.
Advance notice of Human Development and Sexual Health Education lessons
Based on new ministry direction, all Peel elementary schools will send letters to families at each grade level at least 20 days before they teach the Human Development and Sexual Health Education. Previously, notice was provided two weeks in advance.
It's important to note that schools will not provide advance notice for classroom discussions, events and/or activities that build a climate of inclusion and safety, including discussions about different kinds of families or any of the other human rights protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
The ministry has mandated that, by Nov. 30, 2019, all school boards in Ontario develop a policy/procedure that allows parents to exempt their children from instruction of the Human Development and Sexual Health Education component of the elementary HPE curriculum. Once we have a policy/procedure developed, it will be shared with staff and families.
Questions or concerns
We support the ministry's curriculum statement that, "It is important that schools and parents work together so that home and school provide a supportive framework for young people's education." We encourage families to meet with school staff so that their fears and concerns can be addressed. Often these are based on myths circulating in communities about what is and isn't taught. The best place to seek clarification and reassurance is from the school.
As with any questions related their children's education, we encourage parents and/or guardians to start with their children's teacher. Concerns about the curriculum can be shared directly with the Ministry of Education.
In an environment based on the principles of inclusive education, all students, parents, caregivers, and other members of the school community – regardless of ancestry, culture, ethnicity, sex, physical or intellectual ability, race, religion, creed, gender identity, gender expression, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or other factors – are welcomed, included, treated fairly, and respected. Diversity is valued when all members of the school community feel safe, welcomed, and accepted.
Excerpt from the 2019 Curriculum, Grades 1-8: Health and Physical Education, page 75