Education for the Times.

I thought a lot today about what I wanted to write about. So much is happening in the world close and abroad. As I thought new alerts streamed across my phone. Yet, still nothing I wanted to write about. Not like a couple of nights ago when I had a mild case of writer’s block but because I didn’t know how to write about the things I have been reading because I am at a loss.

I am unsure of when the world started to go backwards. I don’t mean in the obvious way of some of the things happening south of border that has become a topic of conversation almost daily. I mean as what’s happening in Ontario with Doug Ford. The changes he has made since being sworn in as Premier has me shaking my head. Today’s read no exception.

Which finally brings me to my topic of choice tonight. Sexual education.

Ontario introduced new sex ed curriculum on 2015.  It is (was now I suppose) progressive and covered a wide variety of topics that the previous curriculum did not cover or that was even relevant in 1998 when it was last updated.  The 2015 curriculum covered things such as same-sex marriage, gender identity, and masturbation.  It also talked about topics like social media, sexting and took into consideration the technology that didn’t exist 20 years ago.  Starting in grade 1 the children were introduced to the proper names of genitalia, grade 2 the concept of consent, standing up for themselves.  Grade 3 gender identity and sexual orientation, grade 4 puberty, and bullying.  Grade 5 reproductive system and the processes of menstruation and how to deal with the stress of puberty.  Grades 4,5,6 talked about online privacy, risks of sexting, and consequences of spreading sexual images online.  As well as there was an option for teachers to speak about oral and anal sex and STI’s.  The program was detailed but in todays day and age where sexual images are plastered everywhere; Ontario was leading combating it head on with education in a classroom not the internet where children are all too often getting their information today.  There is nothing wrong with the old curriculum it is outdated and well, old.  Which starting again this school year will be the stuff the children learn.

I think that teaching children sexual ed is very important, and including things like same-sex marriages, gender identities and giving them tools and information on how to combat bullying and stress of growing up.  The average age of puberty in girls is now 10-14.  It is said the average age a girl starts to menstruate is now 12, that is grade 6.  And the average age of puberty in boys is 12-16.  If this is the case, shouldn’t that mean that as the changes are happening they should be learning about them? If we also talked about these things “embarrassing” or not and educate children before we are playing catch up with them and their teachings.  I do not have children of my own however I do have a niece, and I think about her when I read things like this.  What kind of world are we leaving the next generations?  What are we showing them about how progression works?  I would rather my niece feel comfortable with the changes she is experiencing and will experience in the next couple years, and  never feel embarrassed about them.

I am of the strong belief that children are always watching, we have to be careful in what we are showing them.  It is 2018 and we need to be moving forward, gaining ground on issues that still plague us.  Not taking things we have made progress on them and step backward.  We need to be teaching our kids that there is nothing to be ashamed of by going through puberty.  We all do it.  We should be collectively making the world better for them, and giving them the tools they need to succeed in today’s world.

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