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Human Development & Sexual Health

Schools have a unique opportunity to positively influence students through educating, role modeling, and creating healthy and supportive learning environments.

What Works?

The promotion of sexual health in schools is best achieved by:

Understanding Sexual Health Concepts

  • Allocating sufficient classroom time to teaching the topic.
  • Using the Information Behaviour Motivation (IBM) model.
  • Engaging students in planning and delivering of information (Hart’s Ladder).
  • Encouraging the role of peer education. Note: peer educators should be well-trained, carefully supervised and be aware of the differences between a supportive role and professional counselling.
  • Sexual health education is linked to other relevant curricular objectives and age-appropriate learning outcomes.
  • Consistently offering education from the beginning of elementary school to the end of secondary school.
  • Presenting information in an age-appropriate manner in a safe, caring, inclusive, and non-judgemental environment.
  • Helping students to focus on self-worth, respect, and dignity of the individual.
  • Providing education on: developmental changes (e.g. puberty), rewarding interpersonal relationships, challenging of stereotypes, prevention of STI/HIV, effective contraception methods, sexual assault/coercion, sexual orientation, gender identity, evolving gender roles and expectations.

Making Positive Sexual Healthy Choices

  • Specifically targeting the behaviours that lead to negative sexual health outcomes (e.g. STI/HIV infection, unintended pregnancy).
  • Teaching critical media skills to interpret and assess the sexual imagery on the internet and to differentiate between credible and problematic sources of information.
  • Supporting informed decision making by providing students with the knowledge, personal insight, motivation, and behavioural skills that are consistent with each individual’s personal values and choices.

Making Community Connections to Health Services

  • Provide opportunities for students to think about their choices and sexual readiness, practice condom use negotiation, and other communication and decision making skills.
  • Addressing the impact that behaviours and actions have on others (e.g. concept of consent).
  • Combining sexual health education with access to clinical services, counselling and social services and support from family, peers and the community.

Resources to support implementation can be found in the sections below. Educators may also contact their School’s Public Health Nurse for additional support and consultation.

Resources

Background Information for Educators

A Tool for Every Educator

Contact your School’s Public Health Nurse for a staff training.

A Tool for Every Educator resource, along with staff training, provides evidence based information to help you have a positive impact on student’s physical activity, healthy eating, body image and self-esteem. Tips in this resource focus on role modeling, teaching and creating a supportive school environment.

Grade 2 Teaching Tools

OPHEA’s Lesson Plans – H&PE Elementary Resources

Understanding Stages of Development. Lesson plan:

  • Oral Health Eggsperiment
    Using hardboiled eggs, teacher demonstrates how shell of egg acts similarly to enamel when placed in various beverages.

Grade 3 Teaching Tools

OPHEA’s Lesson Plans – H&PE Elementary Resources

Making Healthy Choices. Lesson plan:

  • Oral Health Healthy Choices for Healthy Teeth
    Links importance of good oral health to overall health and effects of different food choices.

Background Information for Educators

A Tool for Every Educator

Contact your School’s Public Health Nurse for a staff training.

A Tool for Every Educator resource, along with staff training, provides evidence based information to help you have a positive impact on student’s physical activity, healthy eating, body image and self-esteem. Tips in this resource focus on role modeling, teaching and creating a supportive school environment.

Getting Ready to Teach Puberty and Sexual Health

In this section you will find tools and information to prepare you to teach sexual health material and answer questions. Topics include: personal values, instructional methods, ground rules, diversity, sexual and gender identity, puberty, and answering frequently asked questions.

Teaching Puberty: You Can Do It!

This resource was designed to support teachers when they are introducing topics such as menstruation, puberty, and sexuality. By approaching these topics from a health perspective, this curriculum support document becomes part of health literacy.

Teaching Puberty: You Can Do It! – Training Videos for Teachers

A series of videos developed by Toronto Public Health to prepare teaching grade 5–6 puberty classes.

Grade 4 Teaching Tools

Teaching Tool – Puberty

This presentation from Niagara Region teaches students about the emotional and physical changes that occur during puberty and how they can make decisions for healthy growth and development.

Grade 5 Teaching Tools

Teaching Tool – Puberty Overview

This presentation from Niagara Region teaches students about the changes that occur during puberty, and making decisions for healthy growth and development.

Teaching Tool – Puberty – Female Reproductive System

This presentation from Niagara Region teaches students about the physical changes that occur during puberty in the female reproductive system.

Teaching Tool – Puberty – Male Reproductive System

This presentation from Niagara Region teaches students learn about the physical changes that occur during puberty in the male reproductive system.

Consent – TeachingSexualHealth.ca

This website covers some important points to understand and discuss with your students about consent, sexual assault, consent and the law, and how to respond to a sexual assault disclosure.

Grade 6 Teaching Tools

Teaching Tool – Puberty – Male Reproductive System

This presentation from Niagara Region teaches students learn about the changes that occur during puberty as well as the male reproductive system.

Teaching Tool – Puberty – Female Reproductive System and Fetal Development

In this presentation from Niagara Region, students will review how puberty affects the female reproductive system, and learn about the creation of new life from fertilization to birth.

Teaching Tool – Self-Concept and Healthy Relationships

This presentation from Niagara Region teaches students about developing a healthy self-concept and healthy relationships.

There’s Nothing Better than a Good Friend

This lesson focuses on the issues young people face surrounding friendships during adolescence. This topic is important because while friendships are vital throughout life, peer groups and social relations among friends gain increasing importance during puberty and adolescence.

Responsible and Healthy Relationships

This lesson focuses on the issues young people face surrounding dating relationships. The topic is important because these relationships gain increasing importance during adolescence and provide teens with the groundwork for relationship building into adulthood.

Consent – TeachingSexualHealth.ca

This website covers some important points to understand and discuss with your students about consent, sexual assault, consent and the law, and how to respond to a sexual assault disclosure.

Understanding Consent – Video

This video from teachingsexualhealth.ca outlines what consent is, what it looks like, and how you get consent.

Background Information for Educators

A Tool for Every Educator

Contact your School’s Public Health Nurse for a staff training.

A Tool for Every Educator resource, along with staff training, provides evidence based information to help you have a positive impact on student’s physical activity, healthy eating, body image and self-esteem. Tips in this resource focus on role modeling, teaching and creating a supportive school environment.

Getting Ready to Teach Sexual Health

In this section you will find tools and information to prepare you to teach sexual health material and answer questions. Topics include: personal values, instructional methods, ground rules, diversity, sexual and gender identity, puberty, and answering frequently asked questions.

Grade 7 Teaching Tools

Sexual Health Lesson Plans

These lesson plans for Grades 7 and up, are designed to be used as a support and guide for educators teaching the Ontario Ministry of Education Growth and Development curriculum. Sections include: Getting Started, Puberty Review, STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections), Birth Control and Relationships.

What’s Your Plan?

A reproductive life plan is taking into consideration your priorities, goals, values, and personal health when planning whether or not to become sexually active, have children and when might be the right time for you.

Resources cover what you can do to stay healthy in terms of lifestyle choices (such as nutrition, alcohol, tobacco, and substance use), birth control, STI testing, sexual health clinics, and mental health referrals.

My Life My Plan

Teachers could use this workbook as a class assignment. It will help teens think about how the decisions they make today impacts their health now and in the future. Topics covered in the booklet include: My Self; My Health; My Mental Health; My Relationships; My Reproductive Health; The realities of a teen pregnancy; My Family Health History; My Future; My Plan; and My Personal Resources.

Healthy/Unhealthy Relationships

This presentation and supporting activities, developed by Niagara Region Public Health, will identify and distinguish between qualities of healthy and unhealthy relationships and provide situational examples to apply critical reasoning in making decisions about relationships.

There’s Nothing Better than a Good Friend

This lesson focuses on the issues young people face surrounding friendships during adolescence. This topic is important because while friendships are vital throughout life, peer groups and social relations among friends gain increasing importance during puberty and adolescence.

Responsible and Healthy Relationships

This lesson focuses on the issues young people face surrounding dating relationships. The topic is important because these relationships gain increasing importance during adolescence and provide teens with the groundwork for relationship building into adulthood.

Consent – TeachingSexualHealth.ca

This website covers some important points to understand and discuss with your students about consent, sexual assault, consent and the law, and how to respond to a sexual assault disclosure.

Understanding Consent – Video

This video from teachingsexualhealth.ca outlines what consent is, what it looks like, and how you get consent.

Making Decisions About Sex/Birth Control

This presentation and supportive activity, developed by Niagara Region Public Health, will illustrate factors that influence decision-making about sexual activity, outline various strategies for promoting sexual health and provide situational examples to apply critical reasoning in making decisions about sexual health.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

This presentation and supporting activity, developed by Niagara Region Public Health, will identify risks of engaging in sexual activity, identify various sexually transmitted infections (including their symptoms, effects and treatments), and provide situational examples to demonstrate knowledge of various practices and strategies for preventing sexually transmitted infections.

Grade 8 Teaching Tools

Sexual Health Lesson Plans

These lesson plans for Grades 7 and up, are designed to be used as a support and guide for educators teaching the Ontario Ministry of Education Growth and Development curriculum. Sections include: Getting Started, Puberty Review, STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections), Birth Control and Relationships.

What’s Your Plan?

A reproductive life plan is taking into consideration your priorities, goals, values, and personal health when planning whether or not to become sexually active, have children and when might be the right time for you.

Resources cover what you can do to stay healthy in terms of lifestyle choices (such as nutrition, alcohol, tobacco, and substance use), birth control, STI testing, sexual health clinics, and mental health referrals.

My Life My Plan

Teachers could use this workbook as a class assignment. It will help teens think about how the decisions they make today impacts their health now and in the future. Topics covered in the booklet include: My Self; My Health; My Mental Health; My Relationships; My Reproductive Health; The realities of a teen pregnancy; My Family Health History; My Future; My Plan; and My Personal Resources.

There’s Nothing Better than a Good Friend

This lesson focuses on the issues young people face surrounding friendships during adolescence. This topic is important because while friendships are vital throughout life, peer groups and social relations among friends gain increasing importance during puberty and adolescence.

Responsible and Healthy Relationships

This lesson focuses on the issues young people face surrounding dating relationships. The topic is important because these relationships gain increasing importance during adolescence and provide teens with the groundwork for relationship building into adulthood.

Healthy Relationships and Consent

This presentation and supportive activities, developed by Niagara Region Public Health, will identify and distinguish qualities of healthy and unhealthy relationships, develop an understanding of what constitutes consent as well as how and when it can be given, and provide opportunities to apply critical reasoning in making decisions about relationships.

Consent – TeachingSexualHealth.ca

This website covers some important points to understand and discuss with your students about consent, sexual assault, consent and the law, and how to respond to a sexual assault disclosure.

Understanding Consent – Video

This video from teachingsexualhealth.ca outlines what consent is, what it looks like, and how you get consent.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

This presentation and supportive activity, developed by Niagara Region Public Health, provides opportunities to demonstrate knowledge of the risks of sexual activity (including the ease with which sexually transmitted infections are spread), identify various sexually transmitted infections (including their symptoms, effects, and treatments), demonstrate knowledge of various practices and strategies for preventing sexually transmitted infections, and demonstrate the ability to reason critically in making decisions about sexual health.

Pregnancy Prevention

This presentation and supportive activities, developed by Niagara Region Public Health, will identify factors shaping decision-making about sexual activity, provide opportunities to demonstrate knowledge of various strategies for promoting sexual health and provide situational examples to apply critical reasoning in making decisions about sexual health.

Male Condom Demonstration – Video

This video from teachingsexualhealth.ca illustrates the steps to follow for proper use of the male condom.

Vaginal Condom Demonstration – Video

This video from teachingsexualhealth.ca illustrates the steps to follow for proper use of the vaginal condom.

Dental Dam Demonstration – Video

This video from teachingsexualhealth.ca illustrates the steps to follow for proper use of the dental dam/latex barrier.

Sexual Health Question and Answer Session

Contact your School’s Public Health Nurse for more information.

Sexual Health Question and Answer session can be arranged for your class.

Background Information for Educators

Getting Ready to Teach Sexual Health

In this section you will find tools and information to prepare you to teach sexual health material and answer questions. Topics include: personal values, instructional methods, ground rules, diversity, sexual and gender identity, puberty, and answering frequently asked questions.

Grade 9–12 Teaching Tools

Sexual Health Lesson Plans

These lesson plans for Grades 7 and up, are designed to be used as a support and guide for educators teaching the Ontario Ministry of Education Growth and Development curriculum. Sections include: Getting Started, Puberty Review, STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections), Birth Control and Relationships.

What’s Your Plan?

A reproductive life plan is taking into consideration your priorities, goals, values, and personal health when planning whether or not to become sexually active, have children and when might be the right time for you.

Resources cover what you can do to stay healthy in terms of lifestyle choices (such as nutrition, alcohol, tobacco, and substance use), birth control, STI testing, sexual health clinics, and mental health referrals.

My Life My Plan

Teachers could use this workbook as a class assignment. It will help teens think about how the decisions they make today impacts their health now and in the future. Topics covered in the booklet include: My Self; My Health; My Mental Health; My Relationships; My Reproductive Health; The realities of a teen pregnancy; My Family Health History; My Future; My Plan; and My Personal Resources.

There’s Nothing Better than a Good Friend

This lesson focuses on the issues young people face surrounding friendships during adolescence. This topic is important because while friendships are vital throughout life, peer groups and social relations among friends gain increasing importance during puberty and adolescence.

Responsible and Healthy Relationships

This lesson focuses on the issues young people face surrounding dating relationships. The topic is important because these relationships gain increasing importance during adolescence and provide teens with the groundwork for relationship building into adulthood.

Healthy Relationships PowerPoint Presentation

This presentation provides students with an understanding of factors that contribute to healthy relationships and the ability to apply health knowledge and living skills to make reasoned decisions.

Healthy Relationships and Consent

This presentation and supportive activities, developed by Niagara Region Public Health, will identify and distinguish qualities of healthy and unhealthy relationships, develop an understanding of what constitutes consent as well as how and when it can be given, and provide opportunities to apply critical reasoning in making decisions about relationships.

Consent Part 1

This lesson plan contains numerous activities for students to achieve the following outcomes: determine “safer” sex practices (e.g., communicate with partner); develop strategies that address factors to prevent or reduce sexual risk; analyze, evaluate and refine personal communication patterns; describe and analyze factors that contribute to the development of unhealthy relationships; develop strategies to deal with unhealthy relationships.

Consent Part 2

This lesson plan contains numerous activities for students to achieve the following outcomes: evaluate implications and consequences of sexual assault on a victim and those associated with that victim; determine “safer” sex practices (e.g., communicate with partner); develop strategies that address factors to prevent or reduce sexual risk; analyze, evaluate and refine personal communication patterns; describe and analyze factors that contribute to the development of unhealthy relationships; develop strategies to deal with unhealthy relationships.

Consent – TeachingSexualHealth.ca

This website covers some important points to understand and discuss with your students about consent, sexual assault, consent and the law, and how to respond to a sexual assault disclosure.

Understanding Consent – Video

This video from teachingsexualhealth.ca outlines what consent is, what it looks like, and how you get consent.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

This presentation and supportive activity, developed by Niagara Region Public Health, provides opportunities to demonstrate knowledge of the risks of sexual activity (including the ease with which sexually transmitted infections are spread), identify various sexually transmitted infections (including their symptoms, effects, and treatments), demonstrate knowledge of various practices and strategies for preventing sexually transmitted infections, and demonstrate the ability to reason critically in making decisions about sexual health.

Birth Control PowerPoint Presentation

This presentation teaches students about the usage and effectiveness of common contraceptives.

Male Condom Demonstration – Video

This video from teachingsexualhealth.ca illustrates the steps to follow for proper use of the male condom.

Vaginal Condom Demonstration – Video

This video from teachingsexualhealth.ca illustrates the steps to follow for proper use of the vaginal condom.

Dental Dam Demonstration – Video

This video from teachingsexualhealth.ca illustrates the steps to follow for proper use of the dental dam/latex barrier.

Sexual Health Question and Answer Session

Contact your School’s Public Health Nurse for more information.

Sexual Health Question and Answer session can be arranged for your class.

Sexual Health Clinics

We provide youth friendly and non-judgemental services to people of all ages, genders and sexual orientations. The services provided are strictly CONFIDENTIAL. You do not need an appointment or a referral to visit our clinic. All Clinics are drop-in.

Sexual Health Clinic Tours – In-person and Virtual

Contact your School’s Public Health Nurse to arrange a tour.

The Health Unit welcomes in-person class tours of our sexual health clinics. As well, virtual tours are available.

Questions and Answers: Sexual Health Education in the Schools

This document is designed to support the provision of high quality sexual health education in Canadian schools. It provides answers to some of the most common questions that parents, communities, educators, program planners, school and health administrators, and governments may have about sexual health education in the schools.

Questions and Answers: Sexual Orientation in Schools

This resource is targeted at helping curriculum and program planners, educators (in and out of school settings), administrators, policy-makers, and health care professionals implement the current Health and Physical Education Curriculum (2010).

Questions and Answers: Gender Identity in Schools

This Questions and Answers resource is targeted at helping educators (in and out of school settings), curriculum and program planners, school administrators, policy-makers and health professionals implement the Health and Physical Education Ontario Curriculum.

Questions and Answers: Sexual Health Education for Youth with Physical Disabilities

The purpose of this document is to provide answers to some of the most common questions that professionals may have about providing sexual health education to school-aged youth with physical disabilities.

Trans and Nonbinary Youth Inclusivity in Sexual Health

Guidelines for Sexual Health Service Providers and Educators: These guidelines are intended for sexual health service providers and educators who want to better include trans and nonbinary youth in their work. The intent is for this document to help providers and educators feel more knowledgeable about trans identities, so that youth can access services and education that accurately reflect their experiences.

Care for Kids

Care for Kids was originally created by our Health Unit, as a health-based early childhood healthy sexuality and abuse prevention curriculum. Children in this age group are receptive to learning about body parts, health and boundaries, making this an ideal time to lay the foundation for abuse prevention. Care for Kids contains 6 units: Asking for Help, Feelings, Bodies, Babies, Asking for Permission and Wrap-Up. Each unit teaches and reinforces 2 to 4 simple, age-appropriate messages via a circle time, a book, and an activity or craft. The activities are designed to complement the fact that children of this age group learn naturally through play and use schemas to assimilate new information. Information is presented in a matter-of-fact way using anatomically correct language.

  • How to Access the Care for Kids Program: Since 1996, the State of Vermont has used the Care for Kids curriculum in childcare facilities, schools, and home visitor settings. Since 2000, Prevent Child Abuse Vermont (PCAVT) has been the American Distributor for the curriculum. Since 2015, PCAVT has been the sole proprietor for the Care for Kids program nationally and internationally. PCAVT is committed to maintaining and updating the curriculum. Please contact PCAVT if you have any questions regarding the Care for Kids program. pcavt@pcavt.org or 1-802-229-5724.

Triple P Parenting

A positive parenting program that gives parents simple tips to help manage the big and small problems of family life. Triple P Parenting can help with parenting questions from 0–16 years of age around topics such as sleep, self-esteem, not listening, aggression, family conflict – and many more! For support in  Lanark, Leeds & Grenville, call 1-800-660-5853 and ask about Triple P or visit www.triplep-parenting.ca.

Talking to Your Kids About Sexting

This tip sheet for parents outlines characteristics of a healthy relationship, sending sexts, and forwarding sexts.

A Tool for Parenting Children and A Tool for Parenting Teens

These resources provide evidence based information to help parents have a positive impact on their child’s or teen’s physical activity, healthy eating, body image and self-esteem. Tips in these resources address how to use language, behaviour and role modeling to create a home environment that supports positive Healthy Behaviour. Consider contacting your School’s Public Health Nurse to set up a parent training.

When To Keep Your Child Home

This poster provides guidance for parents/guardians on when it’s okay to send their child to school, keep them at home, or call their doctor or health care provider.

For more information, visit our Sexual Health and Healthy Pregnancy web pages.