At the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga, our OWL program helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their relationships, health and behavior in the context of the Unitarian Universalist beliefs. It equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. It provides not only facts about anatomy and human development, but helps participants to clarify their values, build interpersonal skills and understand the social, emotional and spiritual aspects of sexuality.

What is OWL?

Honest, accurate information about sexuality changes lives. It dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, improves decision making, and has the potential to save lives. For these reasons and more, the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga is proud to offer Our Whole Lives (OWL), a comprehensive, lifespan sexuality education curricula.

Interactive workshops and lessons engage participants, while step-by-step instructions for program planners and facilitators help ensure success.

To find out more about Our Whole Lives (OWL) program, email Kathleen

Lifespan Sexuality Education

Our Whole Lives helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior in the inclusive and welcoming Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga. With a holistic approach, Our Whole Lives provides accurate, developmentally appropriate information about a range of topics, including relationships, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual health, and cultural influences on sexuality.

Our Whole Lives recognizes and respects the diversity of participants with respect to biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and disability status. The activities and language used throughout the program have been carefully chosen to be as inclusive as possible of this human diversity.

To find out more about Our Whole Lives (OWL) program, email Kathleen

What does it Offer?

  • Accurate information presented in developmentally appropriate ways
  • Affective and emotional learning
  • Guiding values and principles
  • Activities that help participants clarify values and improve decision-making skills
  • A safe and supportive peer group
  • Acceptance of diversity
  • A social justice approach to inclusive sexuality education
  • Step-by-step instructions for program promotion, implementation, and facilitation
  • Parent orientation that affirms parents as their children’s primary sexuality educators
  • Facilitator trainings and continuing education to increase knowledge, skills, confidence

To find out more about Our Whole Lives (OWL) program, email Kathleen

Our Whole Lives - Home | Facebook

Our Whole Lives (OWL) Curriculum | UCC Resources

The Power of the OWL Program

  1. The information taught to the children and teens is honest and accurate, but it is also grounded in the values of: self-worth, sexual health, responsibility, justice and inclusivity. These values are not just included in the information taught to the children and teens, they are also inherent in the way the facilitators at the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga teach and in the interactive activities used to explore the information.
  2. The program allows a lot of space for the children and facilitators to discuss and reflect on the topics. Children and teens are given lots of opportunities to voice their questions and concerns and hear a variety of voices. The activities and language used throughout the program have been carefully chosen to be as inclusive and respectful as possible so that the children and teens at UCM have an opportunity to voice questions/concerns without feeling judged.
  3. The series of 10 sessions are delivered through interactive and playful activities so that the children are having lots of fun and not just sitting at a desk listening to an adult speak.
  4. The program affirms parents as their children’s and teen’s primary sexuality educators and it engages parents in the program through a parent orientation, take home family activities and providing ample resources to families.
  5. At the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga, Our Whole Lives recognizes and respects the diversity of participants with respect to biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and disability status.

The activities and language used throughout the program have been carefully chosen to be as inclusive as possible of this
human diversity.

Click on the link to read CUC press release about the importance of the UUA OWL program and
share! https://cuc.ca/press/

To find out more about Our Whole Lives (OWL) program, email Kathleen

Ages & Stages

Our Whole Lives: Sexuality Education for Grades 4 to 6

Helps children learn about and discuss the physical, emotional changes, and social changes of puberty. Parents and caregivers can be actively involved in the exploration of growing older, values, communication and decision making.

OWL Grades 4-6 takes the mystery out of puberty and values:

  • Self Worth
  • Sexual Health
  • Responsibility
  • Justice and Inclusivity

In 10 one-hour workshops, OWL models and teaches caring, compassion, respect, and justice. It helps children in Grades 4-6 understand the physical and emotional changes of puberty. Participants explore values, communication and decision making, as well as physical health and development. The HomeLinks feature opens lines of communication between parents and children, while a Word Bank reinforces new terms and definitions related to sexuality and puberty. This program is designed for groups comprised of Grades 4-5 or 5-6, or any of these grades individually.
OWL is a secular curriculum, appropriate in a variety of settings.


  • Parent Meeting
  • Parent/Child Orientation


  • Sexuality and Values
  • Images in Popular Culture
  • Body Image
  • Changes of Puberty
  • Gender
  • Feelings and Attractions
  • Reproduction and Staying Healthy
  • Decisions and Actions
  • Consent and Peer Pressure
  • Healthy Relationships and Celebration!

To find out more about Our Whole Lives (OWL) program at the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga, email Kathleen

Our Whole Lives: Sexuality Education for Grades 7 to 9

Parents are children’s primary teachers, but what is society teaching our children about sexuality? Our Whole Lives is an antidote to sexualized media messages, peer pressure, misinformation and prejudice. It provides accurate, age-appropriate information, puts sexuality in the context of values and personal responsibility, supports healthy decision making, and strengthens social skills. These skills and values help prepare youth to make healthy choices for life.

Our Whole Lives (OWL) values:

  • Self Worth
  • Sexual Health
  • Responsibility
  • Justice and Inclusivity

OWL models and teaches caring, compassion, respect, and justice. It helps adolescents address their attitudes, values, and feelings about themselves, their sexuality, and others’ sexuality. Participants are guided by trained facilitators through an engaging curriculum that addresses topics most important to young adolescents, including those typically excluded from sexuality education and health classes. Each workshop is 120 minutes.

OWL is a secular curriculum appropriate in a variety of settings.

Unit One: Introduction

Workshop 1: What Is Sexuality?

This session quickly engages participants and establishes the Our Whole Lives (OWL) setting as a comfortable place to talk about even the toughest subjects. Participants craft rules to promote positive group interaction and mutual respect. They explore the Circles of Sexuality—a broad definition of sexuality—that will be refined and clarified throughout the program. They learn about the content, format, and underlying values of Our Whole Lives.

Workshop 2: Examining Values

Through activities including an exciting Values Auction, participants clarify their own values, share points of view, and reflect on the strength of their values. They become familiar with and are asked to respect values held by others.

Workshop 3: The Language of Sexuality

Participants explore the diversity of sexual language and its impact, usefulness, and appropriateness in different contexts. After building lists of terms for sexual anatomy and activity, participants consider the language they and others use against the values they explored in Workshop 2. Standards are set for language used in the Our Whole Lives setting.

Unit Two: You, As a Sexual Being

Workshop 4:  Anatomy and Physiology

This workshop reinforces accurate information and corrects misunderstanding about sexual anatomy and physiology. Participants learn that knowing and talking about sexual organs and their functions is both normal and appropriate.

Workshop 5: Personal Concerns about Puberty

Participants have an opportunity to talk about personal questions and concerns regarding their own growth and development. The session may explore accurate information, clear up myths, and/or provide answers to participants’ questions. In the process, participants become aware of diverse body types, sizes, behaviors, and rates of physical, emotional, and social development. Optional sex-specific discussion groups give youth an opportunity to talk about personal aspects of sexual health and hygiene with adults who have experienced puberty’s changes.

Workshop 6: Body Image

This workshop defines body image as a person’s perception of, attitudes toward, and feelings about their body. Participants explore societal influences on body image and learn how positive and negative body image can affect a person’s sexual attitudes, decision-making, and behaviors.

Workshop 7: Gender Identity

By building a chart defining biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, participants visualize the differences between sexual identity constructs. They have a chance to gain or deepen understanding of the ways biological sex, gender identity, and gender expression may align or not align for different people. In addition, they discuss some of the challenges faced by transgender people (themselves or others) while learning techniques that have helped people to feel empowered and to be supportive.

Workshop 8: Gender Expression, Roles, and Stereotypes

Participants explore their beliefs about gender-role expectations, and they critically evaluate gender-role messages they have received. They identify how stereotypes hurt people of all gender identities and learn steps they can take to overcome gender-role restrictions affecting themselves and others.

Workshop 9: Sexual Orientation

This workshop explores all sexual orientations but emphasizes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (LGBQ) orientations due to the continuing existence of heterosexism (the assumption that everyone is or should be heterosexual), homophobia (bias against LGBQ people), and biphobia (aversion toward bisexuality and bisexual people). Participants gain knowledge and skills and explore attitudes that affirm the dignity and worth of people of all sexual orientations.

Workshop 10: Guest Panel

A guest panel deepens participants’ understanding of and empathy with people who face homophobia, heterosexism, biphobia, and/or transphobia. This workshop is one of the most healing activities Our Whole Lives educators can facilitate for youth. Interacting with individuals who are LGBTQ provides an opportunity to put real faces on the issue and to move beyond stereotypes. Panelists can also serve as role models for participants who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning.

Workshop 11: Sexuality and Disability

All participants may benefit  from this workshop: Participants without disabilities have an opportunity to gain understanding of and empathy for people with disabilities while recognizing that as sexual human beings, they share many commonalities. Participants with disabilities can appreciate their peers’ empathy toward them and acceptance of them as sexual beings. The workshop communicates the message that friendship and attraction are normal among and between people with and without disabilities.

Unit Three: Relationships        

Workshop 12: Healthy Relationships

Through a series of engaging activities and discussion, participants learn the basics of healthy relationships and begin to identify the characteristics of romantic partners who can support them in exploring and defining their identities, developing interpersonal skills, and gaining emotional support.

Workshop 13: Relationship Skills

Scripted role plays in this workshop teach skills that prepare participants to be best friends and loving partners in lifelong commitments or marital relationships. Focused on listening, being assertive, and using refusal skills, the session can enhance all types of relationships.

Unit Four: Contemporary Issues

Workshop 14: Sexuality, Social Media and the Internet

Technology can enrich young teens’ knowledge and/or social relationships in safe, life-affirming ways if approached with care, information about available options, and an awareness of appropriate use. The workshop addresses both computer and cell phone use; however, the activities will not require that participants have either cell phones or access to a computer.

Workshop 15: Bullying and Bystander Responsibilities

A great deal of bullying relates to sexuality. Young teens need to know how to recognize it and effectively respond to it, whether they are victims or bystanders. This workshop discusses indirect and direct bullying, debunks myths, and provides realistic solutions.

Unit Five: Responsible Sexual Behavior

Workshop 16: Redefining Abstinence

Participants explore the concept of abstinence, which is redefined as refraining from sexual intercourse (oral, anal, or vaginal), as well as skin-to-skin genital contact. This definition of abstinence excludes higher risk sexual behaviors but allows for the possibility of healthy and safe non-intercourse sexual behaviors, such as masturbation and outercourse.

Workshop 17: Lovemaking

Lovemaking is placed in a moral context when negative and erroneous media messages are combatted with honest discussions of sexual behavior. Participants are encouraged to take away the message that lovemaking is a positive and life-enhancing experience when it is consensual, non-exploitative, mutually pleasurable, safe, developmentally appropriate, based on mutual expectations and caring, and respectful.

Workshop 18: Consent Education

Participants explore forms of sexual violation that can occur between relationship partners, peers, and acquaintances and gain strategies to prevent or handle these violations. The workshop emphasizes that we each have the right to consent or not consent, and we have the responsibility to stand up for ourselves and others in situations of harassment, coercion, or assault.

Unit Six: STIs, Pregnancy, and Parenting Decisions

Workshop 19: Sexually Transmitted Infections

This workshop takes a unique social justice approach by reinforcing the following values: healthy sexual relationships are safe (i.e., they offer no or low risk of unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and emotional pain); all persons have the right and obligation to make responsible sexual choices; and individuals are responsible for caring for their own sexual health and promoting the wellbeing of their partners, friends, and loved ones.

Workshop 20: Pregnancy, Parenting, and Teen Parenting

Participants review the process of conception and are shown how easily pregnancy may occur. They explore the fact that while parenthood can be fun and rewarding, it is also challenging and expensive. The responsibilities of parenthood are addressed, along with its possible affects on participants’ future lives and personal goals.

Workshop 21: Unintended Pregnancy Options

As they learn about three options for resolving an unintended pregnancy, participants explore their attitudes toward and feelings about being faced with an unintended pregnancy. They practice making the very difficult decision of how to respond to an unintended pregnancy.

Workshop 22: Contraception and Safer Sex

Participants learn that careful, consistent use of protection against pregnancy and STIs can make sexual behavior more caring and responsible. They practice evaluating behaviors and their risk for unintended pregnancies and STIs, in an affirming and accepting atmosphere that promotes personal responsibility and planning for the consequences of sexual behavior. Options include bringing in a guest speaker or taking a field trip to a reproductive health center.

Unit Seven: Communicating about Sexuality

Workshop 23: Sexual Decision Making

This workshop gives participants an opportunity to apply knowledge gained from earlier workshops to consider how they will make future decisions about sexual behavior. They will discuss why teens choose to engage or not to engage in sexual behaviors, and they will articulate where they stand on having sex at this time in their lives. In the process, they can gain self confidence in their ability to make healthy and wise decisions.

Workshop 24: Communicating with a Sexual Partner

Participants apply knowledge gained during Our Whole Lives to the process of communicating with a partner—initiating conversations, communicating relationship bottom lines, and responding to arguments against using protection. They learn and practice a strategy for negotiating with a partner despite disagreement about key issues, such as using protection.

Workshop 25: Self Care, Celebration, and Closure

This culminating session provides the opportunity for facilitators and participants to reflect on their shared experience. Participants identify connections between their sexual health and their general health and wellness and are guided to affirm themselves as gatekeepers of their own health and wellness. They list gains they’ve made during the program and describe the impact of Our Whole Lives on their knowledge, feelings, and behavior.

To find out more about Our Whole Lives (OWL) program at the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga, email Kathleen




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Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga
84 South Service Road
Mississauga, ON