EMSB Rolls Out Sexuality Education Groundwork
EMSB Pedagogical Consultant Jamie Quinn is touring all primary and secondary schools to work with the respective administrators to determine in which subject areas the different themes will be taught.
All school boards across Quebec have started to implement the Sexuality Education program this year. As Ms. Mancini notes, the reasons for providing sexuality education 40 years ago are still valid today: to gain knowledge of the human body, combat gender stereotypes, educate students to help prevent sexual assault, understand puberty, reflect on romantic experiences, and prevent sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBI’s). In addition, today there are other concerns such as the pervasiveness of messages about sexuality in the media, easy access to pornography, sexting, and increased rates of STBBI’s.
“The implementation of the Sexuality Education program for the 2018-2019 school year in all EMSB schools is imperative for the mental, physical and collective well-being of every student and is a vital part of living a harmonious lifestyle,” said Ms. Mancini.
The program and materials were created by the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, UNESCO, sexologists, and other professionals and then tailored to the psycho- sexual development of children and youth. Sexuality Education is to be provided to all students in Quebec in the 2018-19 academic year for five to 15 hours per year, per grade level. The Ministry program uses the most appropriate educational approach, known as comprehensive sexuality education. The program is scientifically accurate, incremental, age and developmentally appropriate, curriculum based, comprehensive, and builds on and promotes an understanding of universal human rights of children and young people. Comprehensive sexuality education enables young people to protect their health, well-being, and dignity.
This fall, each EMSB school, together with a team made up of the principal, teachers, spiritual animator, guidance counselor, psychologist, school nurse, and social worker will discuss the details regarding the implementation and delivery of the program. Training sessions and preparatory workshops will be offered for all those involved in the program. “Once our schools teams are well prepared and parents have been informed, implementation will begin in classrooms across the EMSB,” said Ms. Quinn.
The school’s responsibility for providing sexuality education is part of its mission and offers a framework for learning in which all students receive the same information. It is a place of reflection where children and youth can engage in discussions with their peers in a respectful and safe environment. School and family play parallel roles in sexuality education. Parents’ role is crucial in educating their children about sexuality. They contribute to their child’s well-being, while respecting the values of their family. The complementary nature of the roles of the family and the school reinforces and optimizes the efforts in educating our children and youth regarding their sexuality.
The EMSB’s mission is to “support its schools and centers in their efforts to educate students within a caring, safe and inclusive learning community.” A school is a place of learning that contributes to the development of each student. In addition to providing instruction and guidance in their academic studies, the goal is to support students as they learn to get along with others, encourage lifelong learning and critical thinking, and to become active members of a democratic society.
The Quebec government has created this site on the topic: http://www.education.gouv.qc.ca/en/references/publications/results/detail/article/sexuality-education-parents.