Sex Education Taught to 8 Year Olds

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Eight-year-old children are being targeted for more detailed sex education in schools. In Christchurch today, Family Planning is launching a new resource for teachers of late-primary and intermediate-age children. The launch has upset the conservative lobby group Family First, which is urging Family Planning to "butt out" and leave sex education to parents. The resource, called The Sexuality Road, is aimed at younger children because research shows that they are now entering puberty earlier. "Young people have a right to understand what is happening to their bodies and their emotions," Family Planning director of health promotion Frances Bird said. "Sexuality education that works starts early, before young people reach puberty, and before they have developed established patterns of behavior." The Sexuality Road provides teachers with a programme of 10 lessons and evaluations per year. Each year comes with lesson plans, activity worksheets, and resources. Year 5 and 6 (nine and 10-year-old) pupils look at pubertal change, friendships, gender, families, menstruation, fertility, conception and personal support. Year 7 and 8 pupils focus more on changing feelings and emotions and their effects on relationships, sexual attraction, decision-making around sexual attraction, conception and birth, contraception and support agencies. Bird said international evidence showed children were entering puberty earlier than had been seen in decades. The average age of puberty for girls in New Zealand had fallen to between nine and 14 and for boys, it was between 11 and 16, Bird said. "Some people are concerned that providing information about sex and sexuality arouses curiosity and can lead to sexual experimentation. There is no evidence that this happens," she said. New Zealand teenagers rate second-highest in the developed world for teen pregnancies. The Press last month revealed research showing more than a third of 16-year-olds have already had sex and half say they have...
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