Britain has the highest teen pregnancy rate in Europe, thus the government is bringing sex education into the classroom, including kindergarten.
Many countries require sex education in schools, but England requires it for five-year-olds. “It’s vital that this information doesn’t come from playground rumor or the mixed messages from the media about sex,” explained Schools Minister Jim Knight.
How do you teach sex education to a five-year-old? Details on the curriculum have not been released, but Knight has stated the focus will be on self-awareness for younger children. Lessons will start with naming body parts and progress to preparing for puberty and relationship feelings as children age.
We are not talking about 5-year-old kids being taught sex. What we’re talking about for key stage 1 (ages 5-7) is children knowing about themselves, their differences, their friendships and how to manage their feelings.
I wouldn’t really consider naming body parts sex education, but that is what England is calling it. I would, however, feel strange teaching children words such as “penis” and “vagina” that were not my own children. We use proper body part names in our family, but as a teacher, I just think it would be awkward, as one parent expressed:
I am not the parent who calls her son’s penis a wee-wee. But I should decide if the word penis enters my child’s vocabulary at 5 or not.
I do think that sex should be discussed in a natural terms, and I hope any curriculum will include the impact of procreation on the environment.