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Parents are fuming over primary school sex-ed classes, but this expert believes it is way better than the alternative….

Parents are outraged after learning students in grade 2 are shown pictures of genitals, grade 3 the clitoris, and grade 4 being taught about gay couples in school.

Sex education in Victoria’s primary schools came under fire from Opposition education spokesman Tim Smith this week, who said he was approached by parents and family groups about the appropriateness of the classes.

The Catching on Early: Sexuality Education for Victorian Primary Schools program shows students in grade 2 drawings of male and female genitalia.

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The program goes into more detail in grade 3, featuring drawings of circumcised and uncircumcised penises, the clitoris and the prostate.
Grade 4 students explore same sex couples, pregnancy and contraception.

What the expert says…

Parenting expert and father of six, Dr Justin Coulson says while it may be extreme and he doesn’t necesarrily agree with all aspects taught, he does feel it is far better than the alternative method kids use to find out info these days.

Dr Justin wrote, “Victorian schools are under fire after reports that children in Grade 2 are receiving sex-ed classes where illustrations of genitalia are shown. The images become more detailed and explicit in Grade 3, and in Grade 4 (where kids are aged about 10 years) the sex-ed classes include topics like contraception and same-sex relationships.”

This is always going to be controversial… and I’ve been asked to chime in with comments and opinion.

Here’s my position:
1. “It shouldn’t be up to schools to teach sex-ed. Parents need to step up. Since too many don’t, we need to rely on the ‘system’ to fill the gaps.

2. “As kids, we all looked up rude words in the dictionary. (We all did, didn’t we? No? Ok… many of us did.) Today’s kids do the same, but they use Google. They’re being exposed to way, WAY more than the dictionary offers when they’re on Google. This only emphasises the need for comprehensive conversations at ages that average kids are getting interested in this stuff.

3. “Showing illustrations of anatomy is appropriate. Showing pictures… perhaps less so. They education department is going about this the right way.

“It might seem that this content is being taught too early. It might feel too explicit.

And… I don’t really want to defend the education department here because I feel discomfort around aspects of much of their practice in this instance.”

But – we need to be talking to our kids about this stuff anyway! And we are better to start early, be open, and make sure that our children can be mature about it.

Dr Justin continued, “Kids today are exposed to pornography – on average – around the age of 10 ish. Some sooner, some later. This means they’re seeing pornographic content – including sex, often in deviant and even violent forms – before they’ve even held hands with someone they “like”.

They’re talking about it. They’re hearing about it. In too many cases, they’re seeing it.”

“There’s a risk that when we talk to them about it, they’ll become curious and find more of what we don’t want them to see.

But there’s a greater risk that if we don’t talk to them about it, they’ll be educated by the leading sex-educator: Google.”

He added, “I know what I’d prefer.”

Dr Justin does make a good point. The internet and dear old “Dr Google” is far worse than anything we could teach our kids about sex as a parent or in a sex-ed class.

How would you prefer to teach your children?

Share your comments below.

Find more from Dr Justin on Facebook or his blog www.happyfamilies.com.au.

Image via Getty images

  • Try the first term of Reception at 5 years of age. My niece same home from school and had been taught more than her Mum thought she was mature enough to really understand, in fairly graphic detail. She also put a doll “up her dress” and demonstrated that it came out head first. There was quite a few parents non too impressed when their daughters were only just 5 years old. One of them I know for a fact had her brithday only 2 weeks bfore starting school.

    Reply

  • Anatomy is something all children should know about and it is not something they should be embarrassed about – everybody should know their body. When children have knowledge they also know what is appropriate and what is not. Knowledge is power and as long as school and parents teach sex ed at the same time I do not see a problem.

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  • It is only a matter of time before these kids raise a class action against the government about this. In any other situation, children’s services would call this ‘knowledge beyond their age’ and can be grounds for investigation of the care environment. Kids that young shouldn’t have that level of knowledge, plain and simple. This will come back to bite later.


    • Well said, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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  • This sounds more explicit than I’d like (photos!), but I have no problem with the topics being discussed at school.

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  • I really don’t have a problem with this. Yes I believe parents should be the ones to have ‘the talk’ with kids. But a lot of parents think that just means telling their kids not to have sex until they’re old enough. Its good for kids to be educated about their bodies and that of the opposite sex. If its normalised from a young age then they won’t see it as a big deal that needs to be talked about in whispers and looked up online exposing them to the horrors that is sex on the internet. I would definitely draw the line at schools showing pornos in class but they are just showing biological drawings.

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  • Grades 2, 3 and 4 are still too young for such content. Let children be children.

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  • I’ve always been open with my kids. Kids are great in letting you know how much info they can handle. I think it’s It shouldn’t be up to schools to teach sex-ed, they shouldn’t take over this role of the parents. Parents need to step up indeed.

    Reply

  • I’m a believer of open & honest dialogue when it comes to our bodies and sex.


    • I agree – being honest with children is important and answering their questions with truth is essential.

    Reply

  • It sounds like public school do a lot more in their sex ed lessons that catholic primary schools do!


    • I know a 10 year old girl in a catholic school who hates sex education at school this year. Her Mum took her to the doctor as she had herself quite distressed and her Mum she must have a physical problem she wouldn’t tell her Mum or Dad about. They made arrangements for the girl to talk to the Dr. for a few minutes before they went in. It was about the sheer graphicness of what they were being shown. They were advised to take her out of the class, get the DVD from the school and her Mum watch it with her so they could discuss it at a level the girl understood, they could pause it so she could talk about it and ask any questions instead of having to wait until the end of the DVD. Her parents now have a happy confident girl instead of a distressed withdrawn girl.

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  • My kids from an early age knew where they came from but didn’t know the nitty gritty stuff, not really necessary to know too much too soon, just the right amount and what they feel comfortable with

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  • Apart from my youngest two children who turn five next month, my other children learnt about where babies came from about the age of 6-7 at home.
    Apart from my second son who was asking questions that really needed answers. We had moved and the chicken’s egg yolk had changed to a darker yellow colour. He asked his first grade teacher what colour were human eggs. She asked us if we knew he was into that stuff.

    Reply

  • We went to one evening of sex education at school when my daughter was in Year 3. I think it was a nice start. Parents were also invited. But I remember a lot of kids feeling uncomfortable. Boys more than girls.

    Reply

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