sex education in 5th grade? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 10-01-2012, 10:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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does your school have this?

 

due to budget cuts our school no longer has a nurse to do this. however parents are coming together to see if they can fund this on their own and do it.

 

so what would you like to see in sex ed in 5th grade.

 

what are topics that are not usually covered but you'd like to see covered. 

 

should they only talk about the medical side of it - or should they include emotional and psychological aspects of it too. 


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#2 of 18 Old 10-02-2012, 07:29 AM
 
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does your school have this?

 

due to budget cuts our school no longer has a nurse to do this. however parents are coming together to see if they can fund this on their own and do it.

 

so what would you like to see in sex ed in 5th grade.

 

what are topics that are not usually covered but you'd like to see covered. 

 

should they only talk about the medical side of it - or should they include emotional and psychological aspects of it too. 

 

4th and 5th grade is puberty talk by the nurse in our county, not sex-ed. Sex-ed is handled in middle school as part of the science curriculum and by the science teacher. It's largely the biology but the do cover some emotional aspects too.


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#3 of 18 Old 10-02-2012, 08:31 AM
 
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Our school integrates it in something called Health and Career. They focus on puberty at that level. A little bit about the biology of sex, but mostly about the physical and emotional changes of puberty. The messages are honest: some kids have a hard time adjusting, sometimes kids get worried about how their development is proceeding, sometimes changes happen in a funny order, or faster or slower than a person would like. But overall there's a sort of healthy sense of adventure and optimism instilled, and a spirit of open-ness and empathy established. 

 

I've spent time with the class, and am really impressed how the teacher continually reinforces messages about the emotional changes that kids are going through, in the context of social issues that arise within the class dynamics. I love that there's an ongoing appreciation of the fact that some of the kids are changing, and that some aren't, and there are no value-judgements attached to those changes. Also that it makes for a lovely mish-mash of variety, but necessitates empathy and open-minded respect for the differing perspectives and needs. 

 

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#4 of 18 Old 10-02-2012, 08:48 AM
 
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I teach grade 5 and teach about puberty, cleanliness, and personal safety (stranger danger etc). I also teach about not giving in to peer pressure, and pressure to do things with someone else you aren't comfortable with. A small part of the curriculum is dedicated to sexual and physical abuse and what to do if it happens. There is a video that describes menstruation and the male reproductive system, and stops short of anything sexual. Here that starts in grade 6.

I should also add that everything is taught to the whole class, so they get an appreciation for what the others go through. The only thing I do at the end is take the girls and boys separately and see if there are any questions they aren't comfortable asking in front of the others. We talk about how embarrassing it can be for everyone, and I think it cuts down on the teasing that goes on. I always find they are silly at first, laughing at having to use correct terms to describe their body parts, but by the second class they find it really interesting. The boys especially were quite impressed with the amount of sperm they have lol!
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#5 of 18 Old 10-02-2012, 11:04 AM
 
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In middle school, it was part of the Health curriculum in Physical Education. I recall that they covered basic biology eg. puberty and reproduction, but there was wider discussion focused on education about risky behaviour, eg. prevention of pregnancy and disease. Since it was part of a broader Health and Development curriculum, it overlapped with units on growth and development (nutrition and exercise), relationships, body image, gender roles, personal safety (including accident injury prevention and dealing with bullying/abuse/harassment), drug awareness and media awareness.

 

We were in a couple of different school districts when my kids were in middle school and I can't speak now to each different district. My impression of this particular middle school Health unit that I am recalling was that it was a continuation from a curriculum that started in the primary grades with fairly simple "eat well, exercise, and avoid injury".  The topics became broader and more detailed as the students moved through middle school and into high school and more complex issues about Healthy living and lifestyles, including sex and sexuality, could be addressed with them.

 

I think the media awareness aspect was valuable, since students are confronted with so many conflicting messages from film, books, music and music videos etc. 

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#6 of 18 Old 10-02-2012, 12:11 PM
 
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Fifth and sixth grade is when our schools give a puberty talk. In fifth each gender learns what they will go through and in sixth they learn about the opposite gender. It doesn't go much beyond the basics of puberty. My dd and I did the Planned Parenthood class together and I like their format. They talked about sex and reproduction in very straight forward mechanical terms and a lot about puberty and the feelings that go with it and were very reassuring about it being normal. They offera more in depth class on sex ed for kids once they hit the teen years and it covers the emotional aspect of sex and safety. I would love it if the schools in our area partnered with Planned Parenthood to give this type of education to all kids, with parental consent. Some districts do even in our conservative state.
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#7 of 18 Old 10-02-2012, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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aha. i think it might be puberty talk here by the info i am getting from the parents. not really the sex talk yet.

 

what surprised me were some parents who werent really open to it and wanted to first know what was going to be shared before they would decide to let their children hear it.

 

some of the parents asked the children and many of the boys werent really interested and a couple did not want to go into the 'ewww' aspect now. 

 

i really am hoping they will talk about the emotional aspect of body changes. that would be helpful to a LOT of the kids in school.


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#8 of 18 Old 10-03-2012, 06:08 AM
 
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When I was in 6th or 7th grade we had the "puberty talk" and watched a couple of relevant videos. When I was in 10th grade we had the sex ed class.

 

American Girl has a book on puberty (and self-care) that is highly rated around here but there isn't a comparable boys' book; the style of the AG book may be what parents of children this age are looking for.
 


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#9 of 18 Old 10-03-2012, 06:18 AM
 
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Check out a book called "It's Perfectly Normal". Also, churches affiliated with either the United Church of Christ or Unitarian Universalism have a class kids can take called Our Whole Lives that talks about sex and sexuality. If you can find a church that has that program, it might suit your needs better.
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#10 of 18 Old 10-03-2012, 06:36 AM
 
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I think there's been great advice here.  Just to emphasize, I think hygiene should be a focal point (also emotional changes, physical changes, etc.).  This is a great time to discuss the need for regular showering/bathing, washing hair, wearing deodorant, brushing teeth, etc.  Unfortunately, many parents don't instruct their growing kids about this and once puberty hits a bath every three days and no deodorant doesn't cut it anymore.

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#11 of 18 Old 10-03-2012, 07:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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 Unfortunately, many parents don't instruct their growing kids about this and once puberty hits a bath every three days and no deodorant doesn't cut it anymore.

OMG you are SOOOO right. i compromise with dd and she washes her underarms and crotch every day but takes a bath alternate days. 

 

the good thing is we are in it together. with my menopausal stinkiness we both now have to take more frequent showers. 

 

we are not too big fans of regular showers. we used to shampoo once a week or once in two weeks, but now every 2 or 3 days. 


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#12 of 18 Old 10-03-2012, 08:07 AM
 
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Unfortunately, many parents don't instruct their growing kids about this and once puberty hits a bath every three days and no deodorant doesn't cut it anymore.

 

There's often something different going on than a lack of instruction, in my experience. Some kids go through a phase where they're really uncomfortable about the changes their bodies are going through, and resort to a sort of denial that there are any changes. With their burgeoning sense of privacy, and their growing pre-teen autonomy, they have an intense, emotionally-driven resistance to hygiene. They don't much like their in-between bodies, and they don't want to deal with them. And hearing from parents that they risked getting stinky, or looked disheveled, can be counter-productive. 

 

Two of mine went through a really tough year or so between when their bodies began to change and when interest in the opposite sex arose, during which hygiene was a bit on an issue.

 

I think hearing hygiene guidelines from a non-parent would be very helpful. Not necessarily a cure-all, but helpful.

 

Miranda

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#13 of 18 Old 10-03-2012, 09:43 AM
 
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I think hearing hygiene guidelines from a non-parent would be very helpful. Not necessarily a cure-all, but helpful.

 

Miranda

That's funny, cuz my mom teaches early jr high at a k-8 school and ends up having this little talk with the 4th or 5th graders every spring. It's seriously, like, three sentences & esp good for her if she has the class right after recess or gym. She says that they are getting older and she (and they) has noticed that after gym, the room gets a little stinky & that some of them may be ready for deodorant now. She says they all kind of giggle and the smell greatly decreases within a week.


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#14 of 18 Old 10-03-2012, 10:07 AM
 
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There's often something different going on than a lack of instruction, in my experience. Some kids go through a phase where they're really uncomfortable about the changes their bodies are going through, and resort to a sort of denial that there are any changes. With their burgeoning sense of privacy, and their growing pre-teen autonomy, they have an intense, emotionally-driven resistance to hygiene. They don't much like their in-between bodies, and they don't want to deal with them. And hearing from parents that they risked getting stinky, or looked disheveled, can be counter-productive. 

 

Two of mine went through a really tough year or so between when their bodies began to change and when interest in the opposite sex arose, during which hygiene was a bit on an issue.

 

I think hearing hygiene guidelines from a non-parent would be very helpful. Not necessarily a cure-all, but helpful.

 

Miranda

 

Totally agree. I think it's a rare situation that kids have hygiene issues because parents aren't educating them at home. My eldest was a struggle... compliant and responsible in every other way, when it came to dealing with her skin, her oily hair, brushing her retainer so her breath didn't smell like death...she was all passive resistance. The more I nagged, the worse it got. Same girl started sobbing in the aisle when we went to buy pads for the first time even though we'd talked openly and frankly about periods since she was little. There comes a point that a parent throws up their hands and says "fine, be the smelly, greasy kid with zits. Maybe the reaction of your peers will turn you around." DD was never disgusting enough for a peer reaction but she grossed the household out for sure. For us, it started turning around when her interest in boys started (which is pretty recent.) Now, DS, go figure, has always been the opposite.


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#15 of 18 Old 10-03-2012, 01:43 PM
 
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Totally agree. I think it's a rare situation that kids have hygiene issues because parents aren't educating them at home. My eldest was a struggle.

 

 

I agree. Buying your child deodorant and your child WEARING deodorant can be very different things. And some kids think they can keep wearing the same jeans because that worked last year.

 

And for some kids as their hormone levels are changing, BO even when they took a shower and used deodorant can still be an issue. Or figuring out what band actually works for them -- if you are even sure they are using it. I had a year when we went round and round with this. dizzy.gif

 

My husband had a melt down one down and screamed at one of our DD's, "I don't want to be the daddy of the sticky girl! I don't want to!"

 

High school is actually a lot better. My kids bathe every day. They use deodorant. They usually wear clean clothes. Progress, not perfection. winky.gif

 

BUT, back to the topic at hand, the more people kids hear this from the better. It's not because parents aren't giving the message, its that kids are more likely to believe the message when school and home say the same thing.


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#16 of 18 Old 10-03-2012, 01:59 PM
 
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Like some other mamas, my kids had puberty ed in 4th/5th grades (it's a multigraded school so it's done every other year). It's done for the whole class, no splitting up of the genders.  And sex ed comes in 7th grade at their middle school.  One suggestion that I would make is to have a box where kids can drop questions or comments that they want to ask/make but are too embarrassed to do out loud.  And make it mandatory that every kid has to put a question or a comment in the box after each class.  That way no kid stands out for dropping a card in the box. Then no one will know who asked or said what and everyone get's their answer the next day.  

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#17 of 18 Old 10-03-2012, 05:19 PM
 
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I feel like the sex ed topics that are most often missed or glossed over are:

 

--birth control

--consent

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#18 of 18 Old 10-04-2012, 06:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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 And hearing from parents that they risked getting stinky, or looked disheveled, can be counter-productive. 

Miranda thankyou for this reminder. i SO needed it. i think my dd is in this phase now. and YES its a good reminder just coz you are stinky at home, doesnt make you necessarily stinky outside. i have become far more gentle about this issue. 

 

i am slowly realising dd needs to hear a lot of things from others. not me. so i am rallying all my friends and guiding them to speak to dd. 

 

i love the suggestion of dropping a question in a box. that everyone has to do it. i will suggest it to the teacher. 

 

michelleZB points noted for future use. 


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