Resources for Ontario’s Health
and Physical Education (HPE) Curriculum
Materials and resources have been produced by the Institute for Catholic Education (ICE) to support the efforts of Ontario Catholic schools in implementing the revised Health & Physical Education (HPE) curriculum.
The Catholic education community, under the guidance of the Catholic Bishops of Ontario, collaborated to develop resources that will support our Catholic teachers as they work to meet the needs of students in Catholic schools across the province. These resources will ensure that the revised Health & Physical Education curriculum, delivered as part of the Family Life program in Catholic classrooms, is consistent with Church teachings and our faith tradition.
Our Catholic schools will continue to do what we’ve always done, which is offer a holistic curriculum that is shaped by a Catholic world view. The partnership between Home, School, and Parish is the foundation of a Catholic education. Each partner plays a distinctive yet complementary role, and no place is this more evident than in the areas that are introduced and explored in Family Life Education.
These resources and supplementary materials have been developed to align with Catholic teaching. Within our Catholic schools, it is appropriate that topics related to human sexuality, gender identity, and gender expression, and initiatives that build understanding and respect for difference, be discussed against a clear moral background. Properly understood, difference is something to be recognized in a society that honours diversity, multiculturalism, human rights, and human responsibilities. Respecting differences helps to build a truly Catholic culture in our schools and to be truly Catholic is to respect diversity.
HPE resources for elementary schools can be accessed via the ICE website (www.iceont.ca
The following Question and Answer about the revised HPE curriculum is provided for your information:
Q. When was the revised HPE Curriculum released?
The Ministry of Education (the Ministry) released the revised curriculum for Health and Physical Education, Grades 1‐8 and 9‐12 in February, 2015.
Q. Why was it necessary to revise the HPE Curriculum?
The government reviews all curriculum on a cyclical basis to ensure that they remain current, relevant, and age‐appropriate for all students. The health and physical education curriculum was last fully updated in 1999. The revised curriculum is based on current research and advice from recognized experts in the areas of public health, mental health, sexual health, physical education and kinesiology.
Q. Does the Catholic system have a separate health curriculum?
No. There is one Ontario curriculum for both the public and Catholic systems. Teachers in the Catholic system are required to teach all of the same learning expectations as the public system but do so through the lens of the Catholic faith, according to Catholic teachings. In Ontario Catholic elementary schools, all expectations of the Human Development and Sexual Health topic of the Healthy Living strand of the HPE Curriculum are met through the existing Fully Alive program and supplemental program materials.
Q. How will what is taught in Catholic schools differ from what is taught in public schools?
For more than 30 years, all Catholic schools in Ontario have successfully provided a family life curriculum within a Catholic framework under the guidance of the Catholic Bishops of Ontario through the Fully Alive program. Catholic Family Life Education is closely associated with Religious Education. In Ontario’s publicly funded Catholic schools, it accounts for 20% of the Religious Education program, and is usually taught once a week.
Catholic schools have a responsibility to teach all curriculum set out by the Ministry of Education in education policy, including the revised Health and Physical Education curriculum, but have always done so in a manner that conveys, respects and models our Catholic values to our students.
Q. Can you tell me more about Family Life Education?
In Catholic elementary schools, Family Life Education is presented through the lens of Fully Alive. The program goal is to pass on a distinctively Catholic view of human life, sexuality, marriage and family. Fully Alive complements the efforts of families and supports what parents are doing at home. The entire program, from Grade 1 through Grade 8, is designed to encourage children to become the people God wants them to be – to be fully alive. The first edition of Fully Alive was published between 1988 and 1992, and an updated edition was published between 2008‐2012. It has evolved into an integral part of Catholic elementary education, used by all Catholic school boards in the province of Ontario, as well as Catholic schools in the western provinces.
Q. Can the revised HPE Curriculum really be presented from a Catholic perspective?
Yes. The pre‐existing Fully Alive program already addressed over 90% of the specific expectations now included in the Human Development and Sexual Health strand of the HPE Curriculum. At the request of the Bishops, the Institute for Catholic Education (ICE) and other Catholic education partners have developed supplementary materials to enable educators in Catholic schools to implement the updated curriculum in the context of Catholic values. The project was coordinated by the Institute for Catholic Education, and drew together a team of experienced Catholic educators from across the province.
The resources have been carefully designed to ensure that they are developmentally appropriate to the age and maturity of students, reviewed by both educators and moral theologians. The Ministry acknowledges that curriculum in Catholic schools is adapted to reflect a Catholic world view and models and respects Catholic values, while addressing the content and learning expectations prescribed by the Ministry of Education.
Q. Have these resources been approved for use in Catholic Schools?
Yes. The resources have been deemed to be appropriate for use in Catholic schools by the Education Commission of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario.
Q. When will the revised HPE Curriculum be taught? How will I know?
The new resources are designed to be integrated into all five themes of the Fully Alive program, but most often the lessons incorporating the Human Development and Sexual Health content of the HPE curriculum have been included in Theme Three of Fully Alive, “Created Sexual: Male and Female”, which is usually taught in the second term.
Teachers will begin to use the new resource material in the Spring of 2016 as they continue with the progression of lessons within the Fully Alive program. Supplementary materials for lessons already taught this year will be used next school year.
Teachers will continue to send home a letter to parents for each theme of the Fully Alive program before each section so that parents will be aware of the specific content being taught in the classroom. The letters also point parents to additional resources to help them participate in the program by providing suggestions that they might choose to use at home with their children.