Today is the day!! The revised 2015 Ontario Health And Physical Education Curriculum (including, of greatest interest to most people, sexual education) has finally been released. Hooray!!! This means that at long last we can actually put aside our speculations and take ACTUAL FACTS AND QUOTATIONS woefully out of context!!
The sky is [not] falling! A comprehensive precis of the 2015 Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum – Elementary
Just kidding! We’re all going to act like grown-ups here and assess the facts objectively before jumping to any conclusions. And to help out with that, I’ve taken some time this morning to go over the new curriculum with a fine-tooth comb and provide you with a summary.
In one of my university social work class there was an intense argument about nature versus nurture – Is empathy innate or learned? As I recall, I took the innate side of the argument then but I’ve since changed my tune. I believe that empathy can and should be taught starting at a young age.
The Oxford Dictionary defines empathy as, “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another,” and Wikipedia notes, “One may need to have a certain amount of empathy before being able to experience compassion.” I think of empathy as the ability to recognize how another person feels and compassion as the drive help them feel better. Both empathy and compassion have been important parts of my life and I feel that they are two of the most crucial interpersonal skills I can pass on to my children.
Ben and Carol grin at each other. Carol was my nanny when I was young. She was disabled by a brain aneurysm and is mostly non-verbal, but she can still make her feelings known!
I think it’s safe to say that everyone has parenting moments they’re not proud of. For some, those moments have tragic consequences – like the larger-than-I-ever-want-to-wrap-my-head-around number of children who are forgotten in cars every year. In almost every one of those cases, the culprit is a change in routine – it’s not the usual parent taking the child to daycare, or not the usual grandparent looking after them, or they’re being taken to a different babysitter.
*time out, because it makes me sick to my stomach even to write about this*
Even so, when we read about one of these tragedies in the news, we collectively draw a sharp breath in and then reassure ourselves that it would never, ever happen to us. Because the alternative – that at any given time, any one of us could be that parent – is simply unthinkable.
Of all the phrases I wish we parents…heck, people in general…would stop using, this one tops the list.
Back in the day, when I worked for Children’s Aid, I heard this from clients all the time: “You don’t get it because you don’t have kids. You haven’t been in my shoes. You can’t possibly understand. How can you tell me what to do?” SO annoying, amiright?”
I would nod sympathetically and patiently explain yet again that I completely understood their misgivings, but although I might not have children of my own, I had a lot of experience and training, not to mention a university degree in child development and specialized training in child welfare and assessment.
If I had a time machine, I would go back and apologize to all those clients and give the smug little university grad I was a smack upside the head because I Just. Didn’t. Get. It.
I have a new baby nephew!!!! Well, not so new any more….he’s almost 2 months old.
He got off to a bit of a rough start. “Some assembly required,” my brother joked. We can joke about that now. We couldn’t make that joke then – and you know things are bad when there are no jokes, because that’s what my family does in difficult situations. It was over a week before the first one came along – the first picture of the baby in a hat inspired his first nickname: “Master has given Dobby CLOTHES!”
So little Dobby had a rough start, but things got better. The word “miraculous” was tossed around, always modified by “almost” because we don’t like to risk overstating the situation. That’s another thing we do. Along with ironic sound-effects when we show physical affection or back into parking spaces and M*A*S*H references.
Oh, and sudden changes of subject, expecting our audience to just keep up. That too.
What a short, strange trip it’s been! I had my first ever viral post this week when the news of North Ward School in Paris banning Halloween costumes broke. I was *almost* on Canada AM but was bumped at the last minute for a “breaking news story.” (My guess was something that started with “J” and rhymed with “misogynistic creep-omeshi” but, y’know, we’ll never know for sure what really happened, right?) Continue reading →
Here’s one for the “What is the world coming to?” files.
This gem scrolled through my Facebook feed yesterday: A friend’s children’s school has decided to forgo Halloween this year in favour of…I don’t know…Friday, I guess. The decision was attributed to the “staff” and the reasons behind it were given as follows: Continue reading →
The fabulous Stephanie Giese of Binkies and Briefcases wrote a viral post about her disbelief at the sizing and coverage in Target’s clothing options for young girls. She had been noticing what seemed to be a distinct reluctance to include…y’know…fabric…in items like shorts for girls as young as 5. Her post received a mostly positive response, but also a fair bit of backlash (One standout was a commenter who posited that she should put her “fat-ass kid” on a diet if she wanted clothes to fit her better. Way to keep it classy, interweb.).
Quite impressively, Target reacted almost immediately, reaching out to her, doing their own research, and promising an overhaul of their sizing practices including feedback from “real” moms like her, which is awesome – we should be able to find clothing for our children that fit with our own tastes and values without having to pull out our sewing machines and make or modify them ourselves.
But…(you know me…there’s got to be a but)…I don’t agree with the reasoning that we need more modest clothing options to avoid sexualizing our young daughters. Children are not sexual. Exposed skin is not sexual. Children with exposed skin are not sexual.