If you were looking for your daily dose of Knee-Jerk-Reaction, you’ve come to the right blog.
Just a few moments ago, I read an article on ABC News that details the Chicago Public School System’s newest bright idea: introducing sexual education to Kindergarteners. This program is apparently based upon one used in Scandinavia; however, I’d posit that comparing the US to relatively peaceful and homogenous Scandinavian countries is akin to comparing apples to oranges. Or æble to appelsin.
Part of the program, I agree with entirely: the part that deals with children fifth grade and older. However, this program would introduce children at the ripe old age of 5 to topics such as basic anatomy, inappropriate touching, and reproduction. As in sexual reproduction. As in sex.
My first reaction: “No…No, no, no, no, no.”
My second reaction, after having considered the circumstances a little further: “NO.”
First and foremost, I think it’s important for children to know the distinction between private parts and neutral areas. It’s crucial that they know that there are certain “no-no” places on their bodies that people other than their parents, caregivers, and themselves are not allowed to touch. It’s also important that kids learn to respect the bodies of their peers and others.
I personally feel it’s the duty of every parent to train their child in these matters, but realize that sometimes teachers do step in when an occurrence may happen at school. Being a nanny and a former teacher, I admit I’ve been groped by tiny little hands before and I’ve always handled it with a “No, thank you, that’s my private part and I don’t like to be touched there.”
Apparently, boobs are magnets for kid-sized hands.
That’s not the part with which I take issue.
Should little girls and little boys be introduced to the penis and the vagina at such a young age? Why not? Most have siblings that they bathe with or have parents of the opposite gender that they may have seen naked. An easy distinction is: vaginas are what girls pee with and penises are what boys use.
Fine, I personally don’t mind. But there is a plethora of conservative religious people utilizing the public school system that I’m sure won’t want their small children introduced to this topic at such a young age. That’s their right and I think the public school system has to respect that.
Lastly, and this really raises my hackles: sexual reproduction class for Kindergarteners.
It should be the parents’ right, and privilege, to introduce their children to the birds and the bees when they feel their child is able to comprehend such subject matter.
Traditionally, schools wait until the 5th grade (when children are roughly 10 years old) to have “the talk”. By that time, if you haven’t instructed your child on the ways of men and women, I think it’s fine for the school to take matters into their own hands. By then, the students are generally mature enough to handle the subject matter and are nearing puberty (some are early bloomers, I realize, but chances are, if you start your period before then, you’re parents are going to help you out).
But 5 years old is a whole different ball game. If I was one of those parents, I wouldn’t want the threat of my child’s school outracing me to teach them about sex. In order to ensure that they are the ones having this extremely personal conversation with their child, every Chicago Public School Parent will need to preemptively teach their 4 year old about baby-making. I guess they’ll have to sneak that dialogue in between nap time and Yo Gabba Gabba.
I realize a lot of these measures are being put into place because some parents don’t ever take the time or effort to talk to their children about such topics. Yet, I don’t think responsible, communicative parents should be robbed of this special moment with their children because of the negligence of others.
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