Statement from Bishop Ronald P. Fabbro, CSB, President of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario re: Health & Physical Education Curriculum Review
The government has recently announced their intention to repeal the revised health and physical education curriculum introduced by the previous government in 2015, and this has prompted renewed discussion with and among parents, teachers and those tasked with preparing the curriculum. While we have a responsibility to follow the curriculum set out by the Ministry of Education, we have always done so in a manner that conveys, respects and models Catholic principles to our students. We will continue this tradition.
As Catholics, we believe parents and guardians are the primary educators of their children. The parental role in the teaching of family life issues is vital. Publicly funded Catholic schools in our province have provided a family life curriculum consistent with our faith for more than 30 years. Family Life education is an important part of the Religious Education program offered in Catholic classrooms.
Fully Alive/Vivre Pleinement is the family life program sponsored and developed with the approval of the Catholic Bishops of Ontario in collaboration with educators and families, and ensures that the family life curriculum in Ontario's Catholic schools is consistent with our Catholic teachings, appropriate within the context of our Catholic classrooms, and complementary to the efforts of parents to guide their children to full Christian maturity. Catholic teachers will continue to present the issue of human sexuality within the fullness of a faith-based family life curriculum that teaches the content of our faith, the value of persons, human relationships, commitment and social responsibility.
As elements of the health and physical education curriculum are reviewed, I pray that our elected officials listen intently to all voices and remain mindful of the delicate and challenging journey facing our young people. Finally, I encourage parents to continue modelling Catholic principles for their children at home. They remain the primary educators of our Catholic students.
Background: Since 1989, the Institute for Catholic Education (ICE) has coordinated the implementation of the family life curriculum in publicly funded Catholic schools. As revisions to the provincial Health and Physical Education curriculum are introduced, ICE will continue to work cooperatively with the Ministry of Education, Catholic educators, and parents to ensure that appropriate classroom and teacher resources are available.