Ontario Health Curriculum is all poised to introduce the language of ‘consent’ to elementary school children in the health curriculum and the idea has been getting quite of a mixed reaction from parents of Ontario. It seems most of the negative feedback is deriving from lack of understanding of the curriculum or from an ostrich-with-head-in-sand scenario.
Before you ask, “you’re ok with teaching sexual consent to elementary children?”, let me explain that it’s not what the curriculum is set out to bring on. Consent on its own means ‘permission for something to happen or agreement to do something’; it has nothing to do with sex. Consent in hand in hand with health education would mean children learning about what’s appropriate touching, them having a say in how their bodies are treated by others, ways of showing approval/disapproval of an act that involves their bodies and feelings – while they’re already learning about body parts, reproductive methods, healthy living & etc. Does this sound completely out of the box considering our society doesn’t seem to be very clear as to what’s appropriate and what’s not when it comes to sexual consent/aggressiveness…let alone how these lines are quite blurry from one person to the next, one culture to the next, one generation to the next & even one community to the next – Sexual Harassment: not so black & white
Isn’t it better children from a young age learn about appropriate behavior, boundaries on what’s ok for them and what feels irky? And, isn’t it better that when in such uncomfortable, disagreeable situations, they know how to get out of it and know what their personal space and rights are invaded?
Do you consent for your child to learn about consent and know their options? Or, do you feel it’s opening up a can of worms?