Mendham, N.J.—Ahead of the next school year, school officials shared an update on Mendham Township Middle School’s physical education/health curriculum.
There has been a lot of talk in recent months about the updated New Jersey Health and Physical Education standards. Some parents expressed concern that the new standards included “age-inappropriate” content, while others praised the LGBTQ+ community for being “inclusive.”
At a recent school board meeting, school officials announced that the middle school curriculum had been revised for the upcoming school year.
After being introduced in 2014, the Health and Physical Education Guidelines were revised in 2020 as part of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS). By the end of 2nd, 5th, 8th and 12th grades, certain lessons must be taught according to the standards.
According to the guidelines for health and physical education, phrases such as “each person has different ways of enjoying things and the speed of growth” and “all living things have the ability to reproduce” must be learned by second graders and younger. Students should be taught by the end of fifth grade that puberty is a time of physical, social, and emotional change, and that pregnancy can be achieved in many ways.
The updated curriculum adopted by Mendham covers topics such as personal safety, social and emotional health, sexual health, nutrition and family life, but individual lessons are tailored to each age group. It is adjusted.
For example, in 5th grade we learn about sexual abuse and violence in teen dating, but in 6th grade we also learn about sexting, online safety, and sextortion.
Topics such as social health and sexual health compare the differences between healthy and unhealthy romantic and platonic relationships, and are important factors in deciding when to engage in sexual behavior. It isn’t covered in detail until 8th grade when topics such as identifying and identifying are covered.
Parent opt-out sheets are available for all grade levels and are included in the Curriculum folder on the Mendham Township School District website. School officials also said letters will be sent to all households before class to inform parents of upcoming materials.
The letter also includes a link to the health video shown in the lesson so parents can watch it first.
Throughout the school year, boys and girls are segregated into specific health unit grades.
The Mendham Township School District also recently introduced a new Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum for all students in grades PK through 4. Mendham Township’s elementary school curriculum units are divided into sections such as ‘self-awareness’ and ‘self-management’. “Social Awareness”, “Responsible Decision Making”, “Relationship Skills”.
According to school officials, Mendham Township Elementary hopes to develop a positive school climate and improve the well-being of its students by promoting social and emotional learning.
To view the full updated Middle School Physical Education/Health Curriculum, click here.