Family Studies and Social Sciences
The discipline of social sciences and humanities in the Ontario secondary school curriculum encompasses four subject areas: family studies, general social science, philosophy, and world religions. Although these subjects differ widely in topic and approach, they all explore some aspect of human society, thought, and culture.
The social sciences explore individual and collective human behaviour and needs, and patterns and trends in society. Studies in these subjects shed light on a variety of social structures, institutions, and relationships. The humanities, represented in this curriculum by courses in philosophy and religion, explore fundamental questions about human nature and the human condition. The program in social sciences and humanities thus offers a range of perspectives and approaches, with an emphasis on the practical and applied in the family studies courses and on the theoretical in the general social science, philosophy, and religion courses.
Both social science and humanities courses teach students a variety of fundamental skills, such as formulating appropriate questions, collecting and analysing data, differentiating between evidence and opinion, recognizing bias, and organizing and communicating results effectively. Students gain experience in researching information from a variety of sources, thinking critically about the ideas and facts they gather, and using that information to solve problems through both independent effort and collaborative work.
Social science and humanities courses give students essential knowledge and transferable skills that are applicable in various areas of their lives – in their personal and family lives as well as in their postsecondary studies and in the workplace. Individual courses provide students with a foundation for a variety of possible postsecondary destinations: positions in the retail and service industries; community college programs in community services (including early childhood education, child and youth work, and developmental services work), creative arts (including fashion, fashion design, garment construction, and chef training), or business (including human resources); and university programs in such fields as anthropology, business studies, education, environmental studies, family studies, food and nutrition sciences, health sciences, human resources, psychology, philosophy, religious studies, social work, and sociology.