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Curriculum supports


Young people are gambling if the following two conditions are present: they are risking something of value (for example, money or possessions) and the outcome is uncertain (that is, they don't know whether they will win or lose). Most gambling activities reported by Ontario students in grades 7 to 12 increase with each grade, peaking in Grade 12.

Healthy development: Curriculum resources 

Adolescence is a time of experimentation with various behaviours, such as those associated with sexual relationships and substance use. During this phase of their development, students need guidance with making safe and responsible choices.

  • The Fourth R ("R" for Relationships) consists of a comprehensive school-based program designed to include students, teachers, parents and the community in reducing violence and addressing potentially risky behaviours. Classroom lessons focus on bullying and other forms of aggression, sexual behaviours and substance use.
    • The Grade 9 English program was developed as a Book Club unit. Lessons, small group activities and extension activities incorporate ways to develop character education, critical literacy skills and critical thinking skills. Topics include bullying; personal relationships; peer and dating violence; substance use; and high-risk behaviours.
    • The Grade 10 English program is a 30-lesson short-story unit made up of six short stories. The unit focuses on issues such as bullying; healthy relationships; substance use; substance use problems; and sexuality.
    • The Grade 11 English program consists of four non-fiction units with 24 lessons. These units address media violence; bullying; dating violence; substance use; and substance use problems.
    • The Grade 12 English program was developed as a Book Club unit. The themes of the novels selected for this unit relate to healthy relationships and decision-making relevant to adolescents, including bullying; personal relationships; peer and dating violence; and substance use.
    • The Grades 9 and 10 Physical and Health Education program encourages a whole-school approach to preventing bullying and other forms of violence and to promoting healthy relationships.
    • The Aboriginal Perspectives version of the Fourth R program was developed in collaboration with Aboriginal educators, students, counsellors and community partners. This curriculum adds a cultural identity framework for youth and situates some of the issues facing Aboriginal youth in a historical context.
    • The Aboriginal Peer Mentoring program can be used as part of the Aboriginal Perspectives Fourth R or as a stand-alone program. The peer mentoring program connects younger secondary school students with peer mentors from higher grades.
    • The Fourth R core program has been adapted for students in the Alternative Education system to meet their diverse needs.

Mental health: Curriculum resources 

Mental health involves balancing the different aspects of life: the physical, intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual. It involves our ability to think, feel, act and interact in a way that we can enjoy our lives and cope with the challenges that arise. Mental health also involves how we think about and appraise ourselves, our lives and the people we know and care about. It affects our ability to make choices and decisions.

  • CAMH had developed lesson plans that meet the expectations of the substance use component of the Grades 1 to 10 Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum. Some of the related resources are available on this site. 
  • CAMH's Talking About Mental Illness Teacher's Resource contains all of the information, support and tools teachers will need to implement this awareness program that has been proven to bring about positive change in students' knowledge and attitudes about mental health problems.
  • The Mental Health & High School Curriculum Guide, developed by the Canadian Mental Health Association, meets many of the criteria for health and physical education courses across Canada. The guide may also fit with other curriculum areas, including personal development, family living, child studies, psychology and sociology.

Substance use: Curriculum resources 

Substance use is common in Canadian society and in cultures around the world. Teaching young people about substance use helps them understand why some substances can be helpful (e.g., medicine prescribed for them) while others can be harmful. The following curriculum resources also help build teacher confidence and comfort with discussing substance use and related topics.

  • CAMH had developed lesson plans that meet the expectations of the substance use component of the Grades 1 to 10 Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum. Some of the related resources are available on this site. 
  • The Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission (AADAC) has developed lessons plans aligned with the Alberta curriculum. Students gain knowledge and learn life skills that can help them make healthy choices about substance use and gambling.