View Full Version : The case for starting sex education in kindergarten

11-01-2015, 10:56 AM
Oooooo scary title. But not such a scary concept when you look at the Dutch model. I was interested in the videos and the way in which this complex material is tailored for age groups. It's not about teaching kids the mechanics. It's about giving them ways to speak about and understand some of the most important lessons human beings can learn. When I was growing up, sex ed was a half hour film the girls had to get permission from their parents to see and a brochure from a sanitary product company. In other words, necessary physiology was grudgingly addressed but nothing was said about how to deal with the really stressful stuff. How to know you can say yes or no for example. The Dutch seem to have a handle on it. And the statistics about the sexual health of their kids seem to bear that out. How much better off might kids be if they were given the tools early on to talk about their feelings and their bodies in an age appropriate way. I quoted a few sections but the whole article also has video of the lessons for kindergarten and 11 year olds. That latter group seemed to be getting a lot more usable information than I did from that film.


"You’ll never hear an explicit reference to sex in a kindergarten class.In fact, the term for what’s being taught here is sexualityeducation rather than sex education. That’s because the goal is bigger than that, says Ineke van der Vlugt, an expert on youth sexual development for Rutgers WPF (http://www.rutgerswpf.org/), the Dutch sexuality research institute behind the curriculum. It’s about having open, honest conversations about love and relationships."

"The underlying principle is straightforward: Sexual development is a normal process that all young people experience, and they have the right to frank, trustworthy information on the subject."

"The Dutch approach to sex ed has garnered international attention, largely because the Netherlands boasts some of the best outcomes when it comes to teen sexual health. On average, teens in the Netherlands do not have sex at an earlier age than those in other European countries (http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/163857/Social-determinants-of-health-and-well-being-among-young-people.pdf)or in the United States (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_23/sr23_031.pdf). Researchers found that among 12 to 25 year olds in the Netherlands, most say they had “wanted and fun” first sexual experiences (http://www.whijournal.com/article/S1049-3867%2811%2900008-9/abstract). By comparison, 66 percent of sexually active American teens surveyed said they wished that they had waited longer to have sex for the first time (https://thenationalcampaign.org/sites/default/files/resource-primary-download/wov_2004.pdf). When they do have sex, a Rutgers WPF study found that (http://www.rutgers.nl/sites/rutgersnl/files/PDF-Onderzoek/Factsheet_Seksonderje25ste_ENG.pdf)nine out of ten Dutch adolescents used contraceptives the first time, and World Health Organization data shows (http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/Life-stages/child-and-adolescent-health/adolescent-health/health-behaviour-in-school-aged-children-hbsc2.-who-collaborative-cross-national-study-of-children-aged-1115)that Dutch teens are among the top users of the birth control pill. According to the World Bank, the teen pregnancy rate in the Netherlands is one of the lowest in the world, (http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.ADO.TFRT) five times lower than the U.S. Rates of HIV infection and sexually transmitted diseases are also low."

"Proponents of the Dutch model argue that their approach extends beyond those risks. Their brand of sex ed reflects a broader emphasis on young people’s rights, responsibility and respect that many public health experts say is the foundation of sexual health."