Elementary (compulsory content)

Children in elementary school gradually become familiar with their body and comfortable with their identity. They become aware of reference points on ways of being and behaving (gender roles), enter into meaningful emotional relationships, make friends, and learn to interact with others, help one another and resolve conflicts. In Elementary 5 and 6, their sexuality is marked by a key event: the onset of puberty and the physical and psychological changes that come with it (e.g. first romantic feelings, sexual awakening).

The content will enable students to:

  • know and understand themselves
  • reflect on gender roles and stereotypes with a view to promoting egalitarian relationships
  • be less vulnerable to sexual assault and discrimination based on sexual and gender diversity
  • develop critical thinking with regard to messages in the public space (media, Internet)

Themes

Examples of content

Examples of children’s questions

A few facts

Emotional and romantic life

Students learn to:

  • recognize the various feelings that can be experienced in interpersonal relationships
  • understand how certain attitudes and behaviours can influence interpersonal relationships
  • become aware of the role that puberty plays in romantic and sexual awakening
  • express any questions they have about romantic and sexual awakening
 

7 -to 8-year-olds:

Why don’t I have a best friend?

 

11-year-olds:

I know that my friends talk about me behind my back. I don’t know what to do.

Peer relationships contribute to the development of self-esteem and provide emotional and social support.

 

Relationships based on reciprocity and mutuality allow children to express their feelings, to define themselves, to develop their capacity for intimacy and to manage conflicts.

Sexual assault

Students learn to:

  • recognize situations of sexual assault and ways of protecting themselves
  • become aware of the feelings that could arise following a situation of sexual assault
  • recognize the different forms of sexual assault
  • develop their ability to apply safety rules to prevent a situation that puts them at risk or to deal with a situation of sexual assault
 

5- to 6-year-olds:

Why shouldn’t I get into a stranger’s car?

 

11- to 13-year-olds:

Why do some people abuse children?

Prevention allow children to develop the skills they need to avoid or report a situation of sexual assault.

 

The school has an important role to play in preventing and reporting sexual assault because, for most children under age 11 who are victims, the aggressor is a member of the immediate or extended family (Ministère de la Sécurité publique. Statistiques 2009 sur les agressions sexuelles au Québec, [Québec, 2011]).

Sexual growth and body image

Students learn to:

  • identify the sexual parts of the body and their functions
  • share their thoughts about the importance of appreciating and taking care of their body
  • become aware of the physical and psychological changes associated with puberty
  • understand the role that puberty plays in the body’s ability to reproduce
  • discuss the importance of adopting a positive attitude toward their changing body and the diversity of body types
 

7-8 years old:

When will my breasts start developing?

 

9-10 years old:

At what age do girls start having their period?

 

Why does pubic and facial hair start growing at a certain age?

Learning about and appreciating their bodies are part of the developmental tasks of children and adolescents.

 

Puberty is a stage of development characterized by physical, emotional and social changes that prepare adolescents for reproductive and sexual functions.

Identity, gender stereotypes and roles, and social norms

Students learn to:

  • identify stereotypical representations of femininity and masculinity in their personal and social environments, including the media
 
  • make connections between gender stereotypes and the development of their gender identity
  • explain how discrimination based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation can affect people
  • discuss the role that they can play in respecting sexual diversity and differences
 

7- to 8-year-olds:

Is it true that there are toys for boys and toys for girls?

Becoming aware of and appreciating their gender identity is vital to children’s psychosexual development.

 

Various agents of socialization (people around them, media, etc.) provide guidelines—in some cases, stereotypes—regarding the gender roles associated with boys and girls. These guidelines influence children’s perception of what is appropriate for regarding appearance, attitudes and behaviours the female and male genders and contribute to constructing their gender identity.

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