Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Quick hit: Sex ed now to start at nine?

From Stuff:
Nine-year-old children are being targeted for more detailed sex education in schools.

In Christchurch today, Family Planning is launching a new resource for teachers of late-primary and intermediate-age children.

The launch has upset the conservative lobby group Family First, which is urging Family Planning to "butt out" and leave sex education to parents.

The resource, called The Sexuality Road, is aimed at younger children because research shows that they are now entering puberty earlier.

"Young people have a right to understand what is happening to their bodies and their emotions," Family Planning director of health promotion Frances Bird said.

"Sexuality education that works starts early, before young people reach puberty, and before they have developed established patterns of behaviour."

The Sexuality Road provides teachers with a programme of 10 lessons and evaluations per year. Each year comes with lesson plans, activity worksheets, and resources.

Year 5 and 6 (nine and 10-year-old) pupils look at pubertal change, friendships, gender, families, menstruation, fertility, conception and personal support.

Year 7 and 8 pupils focus more on changing feelings and emotions and their effects on relationships, sexual attraction, decision-making around sexual attraction, conception and birth, contraception and support agencies.

"...Some people are concerned that providing information about sex and sexuality arouses curiosity and can lead to sexual experimentation. There is no evidence that this happens," [Frances Bird] said.

New Zealand teenagers rate second-highest in the developed world for teen pregnancies.

...Family First national director Bob McCoskrie said children should be taught sex education by their parents when they were ready.

"The simple message to Family Planning is `butt out and leave it to parents'," McCoskrie said.

"Parents know their kids the best. They know their emotional and moral development best and have their own values. Family Planning should not be interacting with kids of that age."
I've snipped quite a bit so click through for the whole thing.

A few years back I was at a conference where the big international speaker was a woman from Australia talking about how heteronormative our educational environments often are, right from a very young age. Sorry I forget her name but it was a very interesting talk.

Sounds to me like Family Planning's initiative might be a timely balance for the presumption that a boy who's your friend must be your boyfriend (kissing up a tree and all that), and our default setting of straight. And the concept of actually supporting teachers in the somewhat dreaded task of carrying out sex education is fantastic.


Nikki said...

Gahh. It really grates me that Bob assumes that parents giving education and schools giving education are mutually exclusive!

And just for the record, Family Planning also has resources available for Early Childhood settings. I believe it is important to teach about these sorts of things from an early age and to recognise it isn't just about the birds and bees but also about self esteem building and challenging the mentioned heteronormative vibe we have going on.

The other thing I have a gripe with (wooo angry today!) is that Family Planning puts out so many fantastic resources yet most schools are so limited with their attention to sexuality education programmes that they don't use them as much as they should. They have fabulous resources available - more schools need to get with it!

The ex-expat said...

It grates me that schools (the few that actually do it) leave it far too late. Sex ed should be an ongoing dialogue from as soon as possible.

barvasfiend said...

Food for thought?


"The girl's mother let the child's older boyfriend move into their home when she was 11, and reportedly allowed the two to sleep in the same bed."

Psycho Milt said...

...and reportedly allowed the two to sleep in the same bed.

Well, mug.

Have to point out, our default setting is straight. By all means include the minority, but let's not pretend there isn't a majority. Sex education by definition should be heteronormative, because hetero is the norm.

A Nonny Moose said...

Oh good gravy, Family First are assuming that the parents are educated and emotionally mature in the first instance. Their target audience is conservative, and more likely to be ashamed and/or button-lipped about Teh Sex. And even if they DO talk to the kids about sex, who's to say they don't pass on their fucked up squeamishness about it/different sexuality?

Don't talk about Teh Sex and they won't do it! /sarcasm

Chris G said...

Pity that "sex ed from home" didnt work for Sarah Palin's daughter.

a bit low? yeh probably.