For the last few days, Donatella Garofalo has been reviewing Quebec’s sex education curriculum, marking off the parts she feels are inappropriate for her nine-year-old son.
“It is a very sensitive subject and it’s way too much for five-year-old and seven-year-olds to know at such a young age,” she said.
Garofalo is concerned the new program will teach children in kindergarten about pregnancy and birth – more specifically, about how the egg and sperm cells meet and what the different types of birth women can have.
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The curriculum also aims to introduce seven and eight-year-old children to the phenomenon of conception and sexual intercourse.
Meanwhile, eight and nine-year-old kids will learn about emotional and romantic life topics, such as sexual interest and student aged 11 and 12 will learn about sexual arousal.
“I am not OK with our five until 10-year-olds to know what sex is, and how children are born, and romantic life,” said Garofalo.
“Children are children and I just think it’s wrong.”
The new program is set to be introduced this fall and will be taught in kindergarten, elementary and high schools across Quebec.
Garofalo argued parents should be the ones teaching their children these subjects and not their teachers, so she started a petition to put the program on hold.
“Maybe [the education minister should] amend the curriculum, change certain things that we are not OK with,” she said.
Andrea Clarke, director of Heads and Hands, a non-profit organization that provides medical, social and legal services for the city’s youth, said it’s vital for children to begin learning about consent and their bodies at a young age.
Quebec’s education minister declined Global News’ request for interview, but a spokesperson explained the sex education course will be optional.
Further details were not provided.
Other topics in the province’s sex ed curriculum include:
- Human body: male and female
- The scope of human sexuality
- Roles, sexual stereotypes and social norms
- Puberty and body image
- Human sexual growth and body image
- Sexual exploitation
- Emotional and romantic relationships
- Sexual awakening
- Sexual violence
- Sexual health
- Sexual health and the expression of human sexuality
These topics will be covered throughout a child’s education, not all at the kindergarten level.