Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent

News

‘Sexuality education’ for 5-year-olds is ‘not about sex at all’, NZ Planned Parenthood partner says

Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent
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AUCKLAND, New Zealand, November 7, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The New Zealand Family Planning Association is trying to save face after public backlash over the Association’s plan to release a sexuality resource for children aged 5 to 8 later this month.

The resource has drawn attention to the fact that “sexuality” is already included right through each year level of the health curriculum. Even in Catholic schools “sexuality” education is compulsory, although parents do have the right to be informed and are given the option of removing their children from these classes.

The Ministry of Education’s 2002 document “Sexuality Education – Revised Guide for Principals, Boards of Trustees, and Teachers” states that “sexuality education” actually “emphasises the holistic nature of sexuality education (which has physical, social, mental and emotional, and spiritual aspects) and defines 'sex education' as relating only to the physical dimension of sexuality education.”

In an effort to calm the waters, Family Planning’s Health Promotion Director, Frances Bird hasstated that “sexuality education is not sex education”. According to 3 News, Bird said “We’re not talking about sex – the act of sex – at all.”

Family Planning’s website explains to parents and caregivers that “because sexuality education is much more than ‘the birds and the bees’ it should start young.”

It is the Association’s belief that through “normalizing conversations about bodies, good and bad feelings, families and relationships and learning communication skills from a young age,” children will be confident to ask questions and “build on their understanding” as they grow.

Earlier this week the content of the Year One (age 5) resource produced by Family Planning was revealed by the NZ Herald:

  • Working together as a class to create a safe classroom environment;
  • Discussing the meaning of respect and showing respect for others;
  • Describing themselves and their relationships with others, including similarities and differences;
  • Describing themselves in relation to their gender;
  • Exploring and sharing ideas about friends and classmates;
  • Using ‘I’ statements to express ideas and feelings;
  • Identifying body parts, including sexual parts; and
  • Discussing changes to the body and ways to care for the body.

Frances Bird has given two explanations as to why this resource for young children is needed. The first was that “young people are being exposed to more media and materials.”

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This was followed by the reasoning that “if you start to build the foundation knowledge for them, by the time they do learn about it [sex], they’re less likely to have early sex, they have fewer partners, they have less sex as well.”

Critics believe that both of these reasons are flawed. The more sexuality education has permeated New Zealand schools, the more the sexual and general behavior of young people has increased.

Parents, teachers, priests, ministers, and all people of good will are being asked to work together to keep organisations like Family Planning out of schools, youth programmes, and out of families so that the innocence of children is protected for as long as possible.



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