Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yes, Sex Education for Kindergarteners

Sex education has made it into the national campaign, but not in the way I would hope.

Last year, you may remember that I had the opportunity to debate Bill O'Reilly on whether sex education should begin in kindergarten.

I said then, and I'll repeat now, that I believe in K - 12 sex education. So do more than 150 national health, medical, religious, and youth-serving organizations.

Sex education in the early primary years sets a foundation for later, more in-depth education. It includes lessons on taking good care of your body, family roles, treating people with respect, the names of body parts, and sex abuse prevention. It helps children feel good about their bodies, their gender, their families, and gives them age-appropriate information. It teaches them "no, go, tell" about sexual abuse -- say no, get away, and tell an adult you trust what happened. It supports parent/child communication about these issues.

The Unitarian Universalist Association and United Church of Christ sex education program "Our Whole Lives" includes a model K-12 program. I wish all children received such basic, supportive programs.

The curriculum DOES NOT include discussions of sexual behaviors or contraceptive methods or other information that would not be age-appropriate for five- or six-year-olds. The ad referenced in the article is supposed to scare viewers by conjuring up images of sexually explicit material being presented to five-year-olds -- nothing could be further from the truth.

And Mr. O'Reilly, I still think that five-year-olds can be taught that babies grow in a special place inside their mother called a uterus.

1 comment:

Spiffy said...

Sort of lame comment, but I wanted to thank you for this post. I agree completely.