Pubdate: Fri, 13 Aug 2010
Source: Alliston Herald (CN ON)
Copyright: 2010 Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing


Parents can look forward to some positive changes to Ontario's
elementary school curriculum this fall.

While the jury is still out on proposed changes to the sex-education
program, the provincial government is moving ahead with curriculum
adjustments on a number of fronts, including bullying, gambling and
drug abuse.

"About 90 per cent of the proposed health and physical-education
curriculum is going forward, and that relates to such issues as gym,
fitness, healthy eating, drug abuse," Education ministry spokesperson
Frank Clarke told The Canadian Press.

Starting in September, healthy eating will be on the curriculum in
Grade 1, teaching students about the Canada Food Guide. Grade 3 youths
will learn about the importance and value of local foods, and Grade 5
students will be instructed on how to read nutrition labels.

Bullying and abuse will be discussed in Grade 4, and alcohol is a
topic in Grade 5. The potential impact of peer pressure and the media
on youths will be taught in Grade 6, while technology-related issues
like online gambling, cyber-bullying and cyber-stalking are part of
the revised Grade 7 curriculum.

In Grade 8, Ontario students will learn about various forms of
violence and how to avoid them, as well as receiving instruction on
the use of defibrillators.

A minimum 20 minutes per day of physical activity is also mandated for
every student under the revised curriculum.

It's important that the Education Ministry take steps to update what
teachers cover in the classroom on a fairly regular basis, and these
changes seem to be common-sense revisions worth supporting.

There are, however, a few alterations we would like to see
implemented. For instance, given the prevalence and popularity of
social networking sites among youths, we would suggest safety issues
surrounding technology are worth mentioning before Grade 7.

In other good news, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education or DARE
program got a big boost locally from Gibson Transport to help expand
it from just Grade 6 students to Grade 8 students too. DARE is a great
program with an outstanding record of success. No doubt this expansion
will help to keep kids drug free through high school as the message is
driven home once again. 
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