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Sex Ed for Younger Students: How Much Is Enough?

Education Expert Advice from Barbara Callaghan

Q: What do you think of sex education in elementary school?

A: Children need to learn specific information about their bodies, diseases, and good health habits in elementary school so that they will have healthy life styles as adults. This needs to begin in kindergarten.

In addition, they should be taught that certain comments are inappropriate because they are sexist, sexual, or impolite. They should learn about good touching and bad touching and how to ask for privacy. They need to know how to leave when they are uncomfortable in a situation. This may occur because they are with someone using inappropriate language or smoking or any other unacceptable behavior. Classroom teachers can weave this information into their teaching throughout the school year.

Local community standards determine how much information should be given about birth control and explicit sex information. A school nurse or guidance counselor is a better qualified person to teach this more sensitive area. The person teaching should have the most current information and be trained to deliver it.

To find out what is happening in your community, talk to the local principal.

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After teaching in California for nearly ten years, Barbara Callaghan moved to New Hampshire in 1985 and became a principal. After 10 years as a principal, she returned to teaching, her first love and true vocation.

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