Fifth Grade Puberty Education Curriculum
This program has been in place since the 1960’s under the broader scope of Health Education in the Scarsdale Public Schools. During the 2012/2013 school year, the curriculum was expanded to include Health,Hygiene and Human Development in large part through the efforts of Mrs.Stacey Wierl, one of our Physical Education teachers at Fox Meadow Elementary School. The curriculum has been vetted by the District Health Coordinator with approval by the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction.
The puberty education curriculum (Health,Hygiene and Human Development) was developed in order to prepare fifth graders for the changes that take place during puberty. Those changes not only include physical development but also emotional and social changes as well. Some of the topics which will be included in these discussions are: growth and development, hygiene, menstruation, nocturnal emissions, human reproduction and sexuality. These topics need to be discussed with children so they can feel secure in their understanding of the new feelings they are becoming aware of, peer relationships, social concerns and pressures and the changes their bodies are experiencing that will launch them into adolescence and young adulthood.
Sometimes the social, emotional and physical changes associated with puberty can make children feel anxious and doubtful. The average girl may detect the first sign of puberty at age 10 ½ and the average boy 11 ½. It is not uncommon for some parents/guardians to feel concerned that 5th graders are too young to learn about such sensitive topic. However, if the average student is about to experience those changes it is essential that they learn about the process as early as possible so they can feel prepared. Our puberty education program empowers students as they learn about their bodies and emotions and helps to prepare them for the shift to middle school and adolescence.
At the conclusion of the program, students are reminded that:
· They need to have conversations about the topics we covered with their parents or another trusted adult.
· They need to be cautious with information they get from peers or the internet or another source because they have no way to determine accuracy.
· They should be aware that discussions about sexuality are important even though they are private and personal. They have a right to information and to get their questions answered.
· They are equipped with new knowledge that they should use in respectful ways.
This program has been developed so that boys and girls learn about the physical changes that occur in both genders. The first lesson is more general in content and presentation includes the entire class while the second and third lessons allow for a more detailed conversation and more specific exchange of information and are taught in a single gender configuration.
Each fifth grade class will receive a minimum of four lessons. In some classrooms, teachers may elect to continue the conversation as contemporary events present themselves. The lessons are organized according to the following outline:
Day one: Co-ed classroom, instruction by Mrs. Wierl, Mr.Blessing and classroom teacher (65 minutes)
Topics included but not limited to:
Day two: Single gender class. Same gender classroom teacher when possible, Mrs. Wierl or Mr. Blessing. (45 minutes)
Review of Day 1.:
Students will learn about the changes that take place in their own bodies by viewing the DVD: You, Your body and Puberty, (Human Relations Media, 2005).
Some of the topics that will be discussed include:
Day three: Single gender class. Same gender classroom teacher when possible, Mrs. Wierl or Mr. Blessing. (45 minutes)
Students who have learned about their own gender will get a shorter review of the opposite gender.
Students will view the PowerPoint presentation, “Always Changing”. The girls will receive a small kit including a sample sanitary product and a small deodorant with a booklet describing the changes occurring during puberty
The boys receive a small booklet describing the changes occurring during puberty.
Resources that were used in the development of this curriculum include:
P & G School Programs, The Always Changing Program; http://www.pgschoolprograms.com/parents.php
http://www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/personal/famplan/educators/FLASH.aspx Lesson plans for grades 4, 5, 6 – Lessons # 9-12.