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.
READ MORE: Sexual education compared across Canada
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.
READ MORE: Online porn, sexting should be included in sex ed. curriculum, Alberta professor says
“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.
READ MORE: ‘Like spreading peanut butter’: Bad sex ed makes you believe the ridiculous
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.
READ MORE: Alberta announces sweeping 6-year overhaul of school curricula at cost of $64M
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.