Sarah Flicker, assistant professor in York's Faculty of Environmental Studies with research expertise incommunity development, public health, HIV and adolescent development, was interviewed by the Hamilton Spectator April 15 about Ontario's new curriculum that will teach more detailed sex education to schoolchildren in earlier grades beginning this September:
Sarah Flicker, a professor in York's Faculty of Environmental Studies who reviewed the curriculum, says the ministry’s commitment to acknowledge sexual pleasure and desires to youths is innovative and terrific. “Often when we talk to kids about sex-ed, it’s a no-no-no, finger-wagging thing. It doesn’t speak to the reality. Why do kids have sex? Because it feels good.”
So how does one determine what sex information is age appropriate?
Physically, kids hit puberty sooner so it makes sense that it’s taught in an earlier grade, she said.
Psychologically, kids mature at different rates but the key is to provide the information before most kids get sexually active, she said. “If we wait until after they are sexually active, we are missing a key opportunity,” she said.
Lastly, one has to look at youth behaviour. Whether we like it or not, educators need to be pragmatic about what youth are actually doing, said Flicker.
Flicker said she’s always hearing from youths about how awful sex-ed is. “I’m really hoping these curriculum shifts will change that discourse,” she said.
The complete article is available on The Spectator's Web site.
Posted by Elizabeth Monier-Williams, with files courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.