Nine-year-olds to learn about sex

The Press 15 June 2009

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.

..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.” McCoskrie said schools had become “one-stop shops” for dealing with social problems in the community. Some parents felt overawed by “the sex talk” with their children, so resources should be put in to helping them better understand what was required, McCoskrie said. “It needs to be values-based and we think parents are the ones who determine the values.”

Some schools wary of sex education for young The Press 16 June 09