Family Life Program
Family Life Education – Grades 1 – 8
In grades 1 through 8 in Ontario Catholic schools, the program used for instruction in Family Life Education is Fully Alive. Fully Alive is a Family Life Education program sponsored by the Roman Catholic Bishops of Ontario, and developed by them in collaboration with Ontario’s Catholic educators. The program is the result of many years of thought, discussion, consultation, and work by bishops, Catholic educators, Catholic school trustees and parents. The goal, shared by all who participated, was to develop a program that would support and strengthen the family, which “has received from God its mission to be the first vital cell of society” (Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People, 11).
The Family Life program at all levels, reflects an approach designed to complement the efforts of families, and to pass on a distinctly Catholic view of human life, sexuality, marriage and family. Its focus is the developing person, its content is an extended exploration of what it means to be human, and its core message is hope: The God who created you, the Son who redeemed you, and the Holy Spirit who lives within you will not abandon you.
Fully Alive is organized around five themes that are seen as essential to a complete Family Life Education program:
Theme One – Created and Loved by God
The first theme provides the foundation of the program. We are created in the image of God, and God loves and sustains each one of us. This theme explores some of the ways in which each person is unique and irreplaceable, yet shares a common human nature with all others.
Theme Two – Living in Relationship
Human beings are created to live in relationships with others. The bonds of family and friendship, which are explored in this theme, are central in our lives, and shape our identity and development.
Theme Three – Created Sexual: Male and Female
Sexuality is a fundamental dimension of our identity as children of God. In this theme, sexuality is presented as a gift from God that is intended for life and love.
Theme Four – Growing in Commitment
God’s call to faithfulness is explored in this theme. Learning to be committed and trustworthy is a life-long challenge that begins in childhood.
Theme Five – Living in the World
Our relationships with others go beyond the circle of family and friends. Theme five examines what it means to participate in society, and to fulfil our responsibilities to care for and build God’s world.
Family Life Education – Grades 9 – 12
Catholic Family Life Education is a multi-disciplinary curriculum area, designed to promote the Christian formation of children and adolescents in authentic human values related to personhood.
The bishops of Ontario have identified Family Life Education as a required curriculum strand comprising approximately twenty percent of the Religious Education curriculum at the secondary level, since both areas are concerned with the integration of Gospel values into the whole pattern of human life. Classroom instruction in Family Life Education provides opportunities for the holistic formation of students according to a Christian vision of personhood, relationship and sexuality. This strand draws upon the disciplines of theology, life sciences, and the social sciences. Within these, moral theology, biology, and developmental psychology are especially significant.
Students study three areas in Family Life Education (Personhood, Relationships, and Sexuality), to support the direction given in the OCCB’s 1996 message to the Catholic Education community, entitled “Family Life Education for Secondary Students”.
Family Life Education therefore is a distinctive feature of Religious Education in Catholic secondary schools in its biological, medical, psychological, and moral aspects. It is the intention of Family Life Education to assist students in the development of understanding and personal attitudes toward the Christian vision of human relationships and sexuality as integral to the person, created in the image of a life-giving and loving God.
(Ontario Catholic Secondary Curriculum Policy Document, Introduction)