The province’s new sex education curriculum will push back learning about gender identity and sexual orientation by a few grades, but will teach students about the need for sexual consent in the elementary years.
Education Minister Lisa Thompson on Friday unveiled the new curriculum, which will introduce the topics of gender identity and gender expression in the second half of Grade 8, a few grades later than the controversial 2015 curriculum.
Abstinence, bullying, cannabis, concussions and family and health relationships will be covered in Grades 7 and 8.
In Grades 1-3, students will learn mental health concepts like resiliency and healthy eating, the government says.
Personal safety, concussions, caring behaviours, preventing bullying and the proper names for body parts including genitalia are all topics that will begin in Grade 1.
Students will be taught about puberty, Grades 4-6; consent, Grades 4-6; sexual reproduction, Grade 5; and sexual orientation, Grades 5-6.
New to the curriculum for Grades 2 and 3 is body image, consent and online safety.
“(Parents) told us that they want a robust — a robust — health and physical education curriculum,” Thompson said. “And we’re going to respect mom and dad by providing an opt-out so parents can be the ultimate decision makers on their kids’ health education.”