Sex Education in Elementary School
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Early puberty in girls may be linked to problem behaviors - Examiner.com

Early puberty in girls may be linked to problem behaviors - Examiner.com | Sex Education in Elementary School | Scoop.it
Early puberty in girls may be linked to problem behaviors
Examiner.com
Girls who enter puberty early may be more likely than their less developed peers to engage in problem behaviors, according to a study published in the Dec.
Rebecca Hanley's insight:

This article focuses on summarizing research done at the University of Alabama at Birmingham that focused on the effects of early onset puberty in girls.  What they found was girls who menstruated for the first time before age 11 were more likely to develop behavior problems.  These behavior problems include talking back to adults, skipping class, getting into fights at school, and running away from home.  They also found that these behaviors could lead to harmful outcomes latter including lower academic achievement, substance abuse, depression, and problems in relationships. During the research, they interviewed 26,00 girls and their parents from various racial and ethnic backgrounds.  Researchers interviewed the girls and their parents at ages 11, 13, and 16. Of the participants, 16% menstruated before age eleven.  What they found were the girls who menstruated earlier were easily influenced negatively by friends.  However, this influence was short lived and most girls out grew it by sixteen. The researchers believed the must crucial findings from the research was although these girls were treated older because they looked more mature, they did not have the emotional or social skills to response to the pressures, therefore they were easily influenced.  Researchers found there was a mismatch between physical and emotional development in these girls; just because they looked more mature does not in fact mean they were developing emotionally and socially any quicker.

 

After reading the title and first line of the article, I immediately assumed these girls were more likely to have behavioral problems because their hormone levels were higher than their peers.  But, after reading I found it very interesting to see the cause of this was the influence from their peers.  Just because kids are physically developing does not necessary there are emotionally developing at the same rate. After reading this article, I can think of several implications these findings may have in the classroom. First, I think it could be harder for girls who reach puberty earlier to cope with these physical changes.  What if they are not emotionally ready to cope with these new differences among their peers? This could drastically affect the classroom dynamic and make these girls feel alienated.  I think as a teacher it’s important to recognize what’s going on with your students emotionally.  Although its easier to see and note the physical changes, it’s important to pay attention to the emotional development and changes that may be harder to cope with.

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Banned Books Week: And Tango Makes Three | The New York Public Library

Banned Books Week: And Tango Makes Three  | The New York Public Library | Sex Education in Elementary School | Scoop.it
Greetings, and welcome to Banned Books Week! For each day of Banned Books Week, this blog will be highlighting a famous banned or challenged book.
Rebecca Hanley's insight:

Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell is a book about a family of chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo. The author retells the true story of two male penguins, Roy and Silo, who did everything together.  They even made a nest just like the other mating penguins.  The zookeeper notice these two penguins and provided them with an extra egg that needed caring.  For months, Roy and Silo took care of the egg taking turns watching over it and keeping it warm.  When it was born, the zookeeper named the Penguin Tango, because it only takes two to tango.  Tango was the first penguin at the Central Zoo to have two daddies. The reason this book was discussed was because it was one of many banned books.  In many libraries the book was moved to less browsed sections such as the non-fiction, rather than the children’s section.  Many school libraries moved the book to sections only accessible to adults and teachers. Adults were upset with the messages brought up in And Tango Makes Three that challenged American’s common ideas and assumptions about homosexuality, age-appropriateness content, and what makes a family. Because of this, And Tango Makes Three has been a book of controversy since it was first published in 2005.

 

I learned about this book in one of my cultural relevant pedagogy classes in the College of Education.  Although it does not directly relate to sex education, it does tie in because it brings of up questions such as, “what makes a family?” Just as the book I scooped earlier, Where Do I Come From?, this book challenges common assumptions in our culture.  When I read the phrase “common assumptions” is this article, I immediately thought of the narrative reports we had completed throughout the semester in EDCI280. Just as we did in our own narrative reports, I think it’s important to note that And Tango Makes Three challenged the common ideas our country has about marriage and family.  The message this book sends to children is love is love, regardless the sex of the two partners. I think it’s important for adults to step back and ask, what’s so alarmingly wrong about this message? Just as I wrote in my insight about Where Do I Come From?, just because something is “common” and “accepted” doesn’t necessary mean it’s the right way or the only way.

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MAKING HISTORY: Judy Blume Writes About Puberty... and Menstruation

MAKING HISTORY: Judy Blume Writes About Puberty... and Menstruation | Sex Education in Elementary School | Scoop.it
In honor of Women's History Month, we are celebrating with 31 days of women's history! Every day in March, we will highlight an historic moment, as told through the personal stories of our MAKERS. Today we celebrate beloved author Judy Blume!
Rebecca Hanley's insight:

This short video clip was created in honor of Women’s History Month to honor Judy Blume, an author who was described as revolutionary for her time. Blume was noted because of her young adult books that realistically depicted puberty for young girls. Some of her books include Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Deenie, and Forever.  All of these books focused on adolescent girls going through changes both physically and emotionally.  Her books explored topics from buying your first bra to facing menstruation.  Unfortunately, not everyone was a Judy Blume fan due to her honestly about the topic.  She was described in this post as “censorship worthy”. The video clip of Judy Blume speaking about her writing was titled “No One Has To Die”.  She explained before her books, all novels depicted sex as punishable where either the girl got an abortion or died. She constantly asked, “What message are we putting out there?” She wanted to show young adults sexuality with responsibility. When Blume wrote her first book she provided her children’s elementary school with three copies.  She was approached by the male principal who said the material was not appropriate for children this young (referring to the menstruation part of the text).  Blume replied by asking if the material was too mature for the girls in the 5th and the 6th grade who had gone through it. She simply thought it did not make sense.

 

A central idea being touched upon in almost all these articles exploring sex education is messages being put out into society.  After reading article after article I ask myself, “What makes topics like sex and menstruation so taboo?” It’s something almost every girl goes through, yet we simply don’t talk about it.  If you asked me ten years ago if I wanted to talk about menstruation and sex with my mom I would have probably said no.  But, that’s where literature such as And Tango Makes Three, Where Did I Come From, and Judy Blume’s books come in.  If parents’ feel it’s too awkward to talk to their children about these topics why not let them explore them through literature rather than censor them.  Also, books like these could be used as jumping points to start conversations between parents and their children.  Rather than sitting down and lecturing kids, after reading Blume’s novels they can come with questions.  After reading each of these articles and seeing how these authors were noted for being honest in their text, I feel I will take a more open approach with my children using literature to allow them to explore sex and puberty. After they read, I will allow them to ask any question they may still have.

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Kid's Sex Ed

Are five year olds too young to learn about sex in school?
Rebecca Hanley's insight:

This news clip focuses on a school that is introducing a new sex education curriculum that includes children as young as five years old learning the proper names for body parts such as vagina and nipple.  In first grade, they move onto topics such as same sex love.  In the upper level grades, children are taught about different sexual options such as anal penetration. During the news clip, both a parent and school teacher are featured sharing their feelings on the topic. The father interview was not concerned with the content being taught, but rather where this curriculum came from, who established it and what are their qualifications? In response, the superintendent explained that a variety of qualified adults including doctors and parents in the community were consulted.  The schoolteacher then went off this and explained if a pediatrician tells a parent to do something, they do it. So why should this be any different? She also said she agreed with this new curriculum and would rather her own daughter learn about these things in a classroom than in the hallway from another student who has it all wrong.

 

After reading this article there were two aspects that really stood out to me.  One, in the beginning of the clip the newscaster stated, “Leave the parents to handle those delicate issues, issues of morality that should be taught at home.” The first question that popped into my mind was what if parents don’t address this? As stated by the schoolteacher, the statistics surrounding teen pregnancy in this country are alarming.  Blatantly, what we are doing right now isn’t working. So, I do understand this school is changing their method and trying to solve this problem. Going off that, when parents don’t talk to their kids, I think it leads to another issue the teacher touched upon, kids learning fabrications and lies.  When kids can’t find the answers from their parents, where do they turn next? Their friends.  But, what if these friends are just as uninformed as their peers.  I believe this school’s method of combating sex education is very head on and I’d like to see the affect it has on the students.  

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How a German Elementary School Taught Sex Ed [Graphic]

How a German Elementary School Taught Sex Ed [Graphic] | Sex Education in Elementary School | Scoop.it
Children's book images, NSFW? NSFGFG (German First-Graders)?
Rebecca Hanley's insight:

This author of this article compares sexual education in European countries, such as Sweden and Germany, and the United States.  He starts off by comparing to controversial issues in each country that are extremely different.  In the United States, one teacher from Idaho is under investigation for using the word “vagina” in the classroom. Whereas in Germany, parents are complaining because a teacher showed elementary children a book titled Where Do I Come From?, a book that includes pictures of condoms and explanations of an orgasm.  The author then goes on to explain research done in 2012 asked children to draw a picture explaining where babies came from.  One of the closest depictions came from a young boy in Sweden.  However, most American children were far off and used God in their explanations.  Overall, the research concluded it is possible for elementary school children to understand the concept of conception and birth.  From their research they also argued in countries such as the Netherlands and Sweden, there is a more open attitude towards sexuality and people of these countries realize their youth need to be educated about this topic.  Among these countries there are also higher rates of contraceptive use by both male and female teens and lower rates of teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion. Another issue the article explores is the fact that both this book and the teacher from Idaho focus on sex for pleasure.  This, many believe, sends the wrong message to children and encourages them to engage in sexual activity. Because of this, the book Where do I Come From? is being rewritten with the two characters being replaced as "Momma" and "Papa".  There is also no talk of contraception.

 

I found this article extremely interesting because of the insight it provides about other nation’s perspective on sex education.  Although we may find it alarming they are more open about these topics, it seems to be working for them because the numbers show they have lower rates of teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion, as stated above.  I must admit at first I was taken aback by the illustrations and they made me feel very awkward as I thought about viewing these with my parents as such a young age.  But, I think I had this reaction strictly because it’s a norm is our society for sex talk to be mum’s the world. When people talk about sex, no matter what age, in the United States it’s supposed to be hushed because of its dirty connotation.  But, if we attempted to take a different approach such as the European countries mentioned, I believe it could be extremely beneficial to our nation as a whole. I also found it interesting to see the book was rewritten and basically changing the whole meaning of the story.  Before, the book was realistic and education.  But now, this book will become one of many textbooks in sex education that explain how sex is used to make babies.  Unfortunately, this is unrealistic and I feel by rewriting the book we are taking a major step back. 

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Texas School District Teaches Sex Education In The Worst Way

Texas School District Teaches Sex Education In The Worst Way | Sex Education in Elementary School | Scoop.it
A Texas school district is apparently teaching sexual education in the worst way possible: by trying to shame students into staying virgins until marriage.
Rebecca Hanley's insight:

The article put out by the Huffington Post educates the rest of the country about a sex education curriculum being used in a school district in Texas.  This school district has chose to educate and promote their students on abstinence. What was most concerning about the article was the unconventional tactics used to teach these children about abstinence. For example, teachers were told to compare people who have premarital sex to “pieces of chewed gum or used toothbrushes.” Along with this, teachers told students that engaging in premarital sex can lead to to physical, emotional, and financial distress. They were also told to treat their bodies like “locks, fences, and stop signs.”  These lessons were taught in the 5th, 6th, and 7th grade separated by gender. The article also mentioned that sex education is not mandated in Texas.  As of 2011, Texas held the spot of 5th highest teen birthrate in the country.

 

While reading this article many alarming thoughts came to mind.  After reading the first paragraph I immediately thought, “What if there are non-virgins in the room?!” My heart sank as I thought of a poor girl sitting in that classroom thinking that she was worthless and she would never find another successful relationship.  This was later touched upon in the article when sexual health advocate, Katie Gustainis Vela was quoted, “It’s feeling like ‘who would ever want me now? I’m worthless.’” I know if I was a girl in that room that’s exactly how I would feel.  Secondly while reading this article, I found it very interesting girls and boys were separated for these lessons.  Although the same was done in my high school in 5th grade, I wondering if the lessons differed for boys and girls in this school district.  Historically, I know women have always been told to be pure and virgins, as attributed to wearing white on weddings days.  However, I have never heard an approach to this with young boys.  I would love to see if the two lessons and curriculums differed between the two genders. Lastly, although there is no way to prove causation I wonder if the fact that Texas is not mandated to teach sexual education has any connection to their alertly high teen birthrate.

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Susan Volinski's curator insight, December 20, 2013 6:12 PM

      This article takes on a Texas school district’s perspective on how sex education should be conducted. I was appalled to read that this school district shames their students into staying virgins until they are married. What’s worse is that one of the district’s instructional worksheets compares virgins  to a clean toothbrush and a clean piece of gum. It directly states that, “People want to marry a virgin, just like they want a virgin toothbrush or a stick of gum” suggesting that once a “toothbrush” is used, it is now dirty and contaminated by someone else who had used it previously. This is a disgusting way of teaching students about sex because students are basically dehumanized to an object, and if you are not a virgin, you are basically no more than a chewed wad of gum. To me, that is a very sad, shallow view of a complex situation. Other worksheets included other comparisons that students could relate to… “students should treat their bodies like “locks, fences, and stop signs.”” Basically this is saying that students should be completely against sex until marriage. But this doesn’t teach students anything except being afraid of doing the wrong thing. Children don’t always listen, and what would happen if a child takes matters into his or her own hands? If he or she has not received any important information about sex education, the student may have a higher chance of encountering a pregnancy issue or STI if the student doesn’t know how to practice safer sex.

       I believe the approach that this Texas school district takes towards sex education is wrong, and to say the least, they should be teaching the students facts about sex and the consequences that could come from it. Sex education should not be a morality lesson. Children will make their own choices, regardless of other people’s opinions, it is important to educate them about the facts before the students end up with results that are detrimental to their future.

 

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Having the sex talk: Is your tween too sexy too soon?

Having the sex talk: Is your tween too sexy too soon? | Sex Education in Elementary School | Scoop.it
Experts tell you how to counteract the sexual messages that surround our kids, and help them stay young a little longer.
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Puberty Is Coming Earlier, But That Doesn't Mean Sex Ed Is

Puberty Is Coming Earlier, But That Doesn't Mean Sex Ed Is | Sex Education in Elementary School | Scoop.it
Scientists are still trying to understand why more children are reaching puberty earlier than previous generations.
Rebecca Hanley's insight:

This news article simply points out and discusses how fifth grade is too late to teach children about puberty.  In our society, puberty onset is coming earlier and earlier. One girl in the article, Rachael, discussing how she began puberty when she was still playing dress up at age eight.  She went on to explain that she answered questions about puberty for many of her peers because their questions were not being answered at home or in school.  Another girl in the article goes on to say she started puberty at age six when she received her first underarm hair. By age nine, she was in her first bra.  Her mother stated she felt uncomfortable having conversations revolving around puberty with her daughter, but because the school wasn’t having them she had to and she did the best she could. The article also cites two doctors who also believe puberty education should start earlier.  One puberty teacher from California suggested started puberty education in kindergarten and building off students’ previous knowledge each year. Another doctor, a pediatric endocrinologist, went on to state he believes puberty education should begin earlier as well.  He explained that he does not believe children should be taught about sex at a young age, but rather taught that just because their bodies are maturing does not mean they are ready for adult, mature relationships.

 

This article touches on a similar idea as the news clip I scooped earlier.  If these children aren’t being taught at home or at school where do they turn? Luckily, in this case they turned to their well-informed peer.  But, what happens when that peer isn’t so well informed? What if the information they have is simply wrong? Like the school mentioned in the article, my school did not discuss puberty until fifth grade.  What I often wondered was, “Why are they explaining this to us now? I can explain it myself first hand. This conversation is too little, too late.” I believe preparing kids for what to come is a smart way to approach puberty.  I believe schools have the power to start conversations and then students can take these conversations home and ask further questions continuing the talk at home. The most intriguing part of this article for me was the part about teaching children they aren’t ready for mature relationships.  As mentioned in another previous scoop, just because these children have these mature physical bodies does not mean they are emotionally mature as well.  I think as a child this is really hard to understand, but it is necessary to lower teen pregnancy rates and births. 

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