Concerns over primary school sex ed

  • 23/11/2013

Parents are deeply concerned over a new sex education programme being offered to primary school children as young as five.

The Every Body Education programme has so far been picked up by five North Island primary schools. Founder Kathryn Heape is a qualified teacher and sexuality educator, and believes comprehensive learning is necessary from a young age.

"We talk about how the baby grows in the uterus, [and] we talk about how the penis's job is to deliver the sperm to the egg through the vagina. It's all very matter of fact."

Other information covered in the programme aimed at year 1 and 2 primary school students includes how a baby is born, that sex is an adult activity and what condoms look like.

But Auckland mother Carla Smith says it's all too much.

"I just think you're placing seeds in their head which they may not know what to do with. Who knows where those seeds are going to go in the future, and in what directions they're going to turn."

Ms Smith's three children attend Murray's Bay Primary.

When the school suggested the programme to parents, she and many others voted against it, and the school decided not to go ahead with it.

She then wrote on Facebook about the programme and received a number of responses from concerned parents all over the country, and even from a principal.

"I wasn't seeking this attention, i wasn't trying to an activist," she says. "I'm just a mum who cares about my kids."

Ms Heape set up Every Body Education after a year abroad in Canada, where she says sex education in primary schools has been hugely successful.

She says New Zealand children are learning too little and too late, and that children don't yet see sex as a taboo so learning it early will help normalise the subject.

"Children just take it in their stride. Its adults who tend to put their embarrassment and anxiety onto the kids, and we're usually the ones more fearful. But when we see how easy the children accept the information, it eases a lot of information."

Ms Heape says starting young is the only way to make sure accurate and appropriate information reaches children, and when they get older, they'll be more open to sharing with their parents.

But as a parent, Ms Smith says she can handle her children's pending curiosities without having them taught to them at only five years old.

3 News

source: newshub archive


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