What Sex Education Topics are Most Effective in Elementary Schools

Introduction

Why is it that more and more of our youth are pregnant and contracting more sexual transmitted diseases than they have ever in history Schools public and private include sex education in their curriculum at some point in time Is it the teachers the families peer pressure the environment or the schools that cause the increase in risky sexual behavior The answers for the most part can be found in what material isnt taught to the students and whether or not the adults in a childs life speak on sex and anything related How early is too early and what topics of sex education should be taught Is an abstinence only education more effective than a comprehensive sex education If the information isnt comprehensive negativity will continue to result and the future will be almost predictable Elementary school is the right time to introduce sex education to the students since teens initiate sexual activity even earlier now Schools systems research what topics are most effective in reducing students from engaging in sexual activity before they should Furthermore the most effective topics to be taught in elementary school under a comprehensive sexual education are abstinence contraceptive use and pregnancy prevention

Background

Sex Education is the educating of human sexuality overall from reproduction to relationships Sex education wasnt always taught in schools though For a while the topic of sex was left up to parents or a guardian By 1988 93 percent of seventh to eleventh grade public school teachers worked in schools that taught sex education The Christian Rights group didnt believe in sex education being taught in school but further agreed on a limited curriculum ie abstinence only Doan and McFarlane 613-635 Some Christian schools wont even speak on the subject The controversy lies behind morals the government and parents The AIDS outbreak increasing teen pregnancies and STDs sexually transmitted diseases have heavily influenced improved curricula in an effort to reduce negative statistics concerning our youth What was once left up to parents and thought of as taboo is widely recognized as necessary in schools and thus introduced in elementary school Most schools today teach under a comprehensive sex education however

MaleFemale Development

Sex Education starts as early as birth How a mother interacts with the child determines a lot Kids start to explore their bodies and understand gender differences early As time progresses they ask questions curiously and parents answer to the best of their abilities by brushing it off even Every child will not develop at the same speed or the same exact way Learning about specific body parts and puberty come in due time but is a natural part of life The smallest acts cannot go unnoticed or ignored no matter how we feel at the time Children enter the school system around 4 or 5 years of age early childhood or kindergarten Other children will say things that may or may not be true in their ear or they will observe adult conversation which may or may not be for all ears to hear Sending children off to school in a parents eye is so the child or their children can get assistance in being all they can be As the years progress children become teens possibly turn to masturbation and ultimately engage in sexual activity Peer pressure starting in middle school can be a negative influence and can impact decision making for right now or future decisions dealing with sexuality

Children have begun to develop and become more curious towards sex earlier As a result school systems have decided to include sex education into the curriculum Christian schools limit the information to abstinence if sex education is implemented Adult participation in childrens development is critical Parents and other adults in a childs life for example a bus driver dont take into consideration how they react and what comes out of their mouth determine how a child feels about their own bodies and the human body both male and female in general When childrens curiosity about sex is ignored or when children are told that they should not say certain words or are shamed for asking questions an attitude of secrecy is conveyed Sciaraffa and Randolph 32-38 Secrecy then causes the child to listen to others who more than like wont have their best interests at heart or may not even have the correct answers to asked questions Teaching an abstinence only education will force kids to wonder for the answers on their own andor reach out to parents or friends or even strangers with a seemingly understanding face How sensible is teaching an abstinence-only education versus a comprehensive sex education when this generation wont even pay their own parents any attention a lot of the time We cannot limit these children of the necessary knowledge they need all they can learn understand and apply to everyday life When you compare and contrast the two a comprehensive sex education is more effective while abstinence only is great it is ineffective in several ways Safety comes first and foremost though It is impossible to be around anyone 247 so to ensure healthy sexual development sex education a comprehensive sex education of some sort is a must

Effectiveness of a Comprehensive Sex Education CSE in Schools

A comprehensive sex education includes abstinence contraceptive use and pregnancy prevention Abstinence or choosing to not participate in any sexual activity whatsoever is the most effective under a CSE However we cannot stop teaching here due to the fact that when children know they are told not to do something makes them want to do it even more Contraceptive use is the use of some protection if choosing to engage in sexual activity for example a condom The point is so that the risk of contracting a diseaseinfection from your sexual partner can be reduced severely and can help prevent pregnancy with neither being 100 percent There are serious diseases that you cannot get rid of if contracted and can forever change your life for better or worse such as HPV Human Papillomavirus and HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus Pregnancy Prevention speaks for itself It was made so that if you are to engage in sexual activity unprotected you can have a very good chance of not getting pregnant Birth control hasnt always been an option though Some young mothers didnt have that choice and the results of having sex caused them to change their lives for the sake of their child Several after birth decisions are available now and have reduced teen pregnancy as a whole If one decides to go through with the pregnancy you could have an abortion but they are costly and can possibly cause health issues later in life You could also take the adoption route if you cannot take care of the child but you would have to deal with the fact that you have given up your child and the child may possibly find you Adoption could significantly alter the childs life and have a very negative impact just because you didnt think a decision through

CSE is about human sexuality as a whole Sciaraffa and Randolph speak on teaching it as early as preschool due to children engaging in what is known as self-pleasuring 32-38 Early childhood professionals need to become knowledgeable about and comfortable with sex education in order to support healthy sexuality development for children How can we get this vital information across to the young minded and know that they understand it Differentiated instruction is a set of strategies that will help teachers meet each child where they are when they enter class and move them forward as far as possible on their educational path Levy 161-164 There are a certain number of hours students should receive learning sex education and certain topics have to be covered as well We first need to know what they know then teach necessary content and give assessment of some sort to see if they understand what they were learning Teachers dont wait to talk with young children about nutrition or traffic safety they need to treat sexuality in the same way due to its equal importance Being knowledgeable of the basics early such as gender differences and body parts will help children from pre-schoolkindergarten be able to understand human sexuality completely by the time they are ready for puberty The early developmental stages are critical and must be treated with the utmost care How we respond and our gestures can really influence how they feel toward themselves and how their relationships with any and every one turn out Every child wont grasp the subject as quickly as another due to maturity levels but teachers can see who needs more instruction time or try grouping learning from peers could eliminate that issue of misunderstanding Sciaraffa and Randolph 32-38

The goal of a comprehensive sex education is to delay sexual initiation or at least be safe while doing so using contraceptives and pregnancy prevention birth control An abstinence only education may be to prevent promoting sexual activity but we live in an extremely rebellious era It is better that our students starting in elementary school know all the essentials Equipping youth with the necessary skills and knowledge to make responsible decisions about sex may help to reduce the more than 750000 pregnancies among teens and the approximately 9 million cases of sexually transmitted infections among youth aged 15-24 that occur in the US each year Mueller Gavin Kulkarni 89-96 Not knowing the basic essentials the chances of engaging in sexual activity at an early age is a given and demonstrates that school systems failure at implementing policies and practices which in turn provide poor health results Our children see and give their own conclusions about sex by seeing it in the media internet TV etc It is easier to access it now with no restrictions so the elementary students need to know the high risk and potential consequences of taking certain actions It has been observed that poverty stricken minority children are more likely to become a negative statistic but they dont have to confide in that with the proper curriculum Kirby 27-33 The educators in urban areas especially can help beat the odds so our world can have better leaders School systems can then assist in the improvement of health in their students by starting as early as possible Students even favored that the sex education be open and straightforward nothing hidden Abstinence only education can then be defined as ineffective and this information ties back to relationships and understanding that patience is best

Parental Views and Influence

Parental opinion has a huge influence on how the child learns Some children wont believe their parent can be wrong which could later deter them from wanting to learn sex education or other subjects After all learning and early development begins before school in the homeliving environment and surroundings The increase in parentsguardians who object to a comprehensive education could be setting their children up to put their lives on hold or cause unnecessary stress due to lack of untaught or unspoken material regarding sex education Parents arent perfect but express how they feel on certain things in their own way for the benefit of the child Parental views on the subject of sex education is deeply valued and not taken lightly due to the current circumstances however We can see that students learn from people who have been through the situations that they are learning about Kidger speaks on using young mothers as teachers since they have prior experience on the topic Children today do not truly see the reality of being pregnant and possibly being a single parent 291-305 Young mothers could potentially change the future Of course we make mistakes and dont always think decisions through due to wants and desires but if someone living out our consequences is right in front of us that would put us back in check and make us think

Parents overall show more support towards a comprehensive sex education After some minor research parents in Minnesota and the parents in Texas feel different towards sex education Through surveys taken in the two states observations show that Minnesota parents are more supportive for CSE versus the parents in Texas favoring abstinence only Eisenberg Bernat Bearinger and Resnick find that an overwhelming majority of parents support the inclusion of all the specific topics in the survey including reproductive anatomy 352-359 In comparison surveys from Minnesota to across the US showed very similar results The survey in Texas showed that Texan parents wanted a CSE mostly It has been noted that 800000 teens are sexually experienced resulting in more than 50000 teen births each year and the cases in Texas account for 12 of teen births in the US alone Tortelero Johnson Peskin et al Adolescent health in Texas is critical and definitely needs a plan for change The state opposes to anything other than abstinence only however Minority parents are challenged with health more so than other groups so they believe a comprehensive education is best Parents understand that sex education has to be taught at some point in time whether abstinence only or CSE they should be encouraged to express views on the topic Consistency will push the envelope on this matter and hopefully change adolescent sex health to be a plus

Counterargument

Abstinence only education supporters feel like just teaching abstinence is better It doesnt seem age appropriate to speak to the elementary students about sex It is being debated on introducing the topic of sex education as early as preschool The students are still toddlers and arent all curious They are still growing and havent reached puberty yet Most if not all are still playing outside with friends and playing with toys It is a concern that teaching a CSE will only promote premarital sex and takes away from parental authority in a sense Kidger shows three discourses on evaluating sex education moralistic harm reductionist and empowering Moralistic views see sex education as morally wrong and thus an encouragement of youthful sexual activity Harm reductionist views sexual education as harmful health and social outcomes Empowering views are a little different than the other discourses The empowering discourse meaning the youth is taking part in their identities and knowing that learning sex education is a right so to each its own 291-305 The first two discourses obviously side with an abstinence only education The empowering discourse does too from one perspective Students can learn abstinence only for the type of sex education and leave other topics to parents or to learn about when necessary Sure each generation develops much faster than the last but that does not mean that they mature or grasp material any faster We cannot forget that children are still children until they mature

A comprehensive sex education is letting on to too much too soon All children arent communicable but most that have questions will ask an adult who they feel are responsible There are still children brought up with morals and not influenced into having sex at an early age Why should educators introduce what some arent ready to handle All kids do not mature the same and may not feel comfortable with the subject Placing sex education other than abstinence into the elementary school curriculum wont bring any positive outcomes Itll only have the children weighing their options and thinking how they can fight the odds Some may not even think about the negatives of engaging in any sexual activity because they dont know the consequences or dont wish to find out and with that observation abstinence only is the best way to go Our students need to know that sex will come with a relationship and that school and family are their priorities for now Yes they will be influenced but having sex early can alter a reputation harshly andor even change your future The point of going to school is to learn to be someone in the long run What you dont know wont kill you It only means the information isnt something they will need to know in that time period The future of the US is at stake with more and more youth throwing their lives away just to have that attention or feel good for a small amount of time Learning under an abstinence only education can ensure that the youth wont lose focus on their priorities

Analysis

It is agreed upon from a majority that sex education is vital Starting from human anatomy to how we form relationships and all in between goes to show just how much information is truly needed for the youth in this time The most effective topics are abstinence contraceptive use and pregnancy prevention because they are closely related with the negative outcomes Abstinence being the most effective tells students to refrain from engaging in sexual activity at all costs When someone says not to do something something inside us all tells us to try it Without fully understanding what you are getting yourself into could cause unwanted problems Further contraceptives are back up protection for example cervical caps Contraceptive use is widely advertised in an effort to keep health misfortunes minimum Pregnancy prevention is the most controversial due to it societal setbacks Educators need to emphasize their importance and explain them relentlessly How children developed ten years ago and how they develop now has changed Sex education is and always will be needed for more reasons than one Without sex education could we even fathom what America what be like health wise Million and millions of tax payers dollars and cents go to issues like this We pay very little attention to the most important things until we are in too deep This situation concerning our youths sexuality shouldnt have to be spoken on harshly Statistics should be that a majority of teens are STD free not the leading age group 15-24 with poor sexual health and teen pregnancy should be uncommon We live in a country known for change and the time to act is now Concerned statements are only opinions and suggestive solutions until America acts on the issue Keep sex education comprehensive in schools and explain abstinence contraceptives and pregnancy prevention in depth no matter what

Conclusion

It can be concluded that the most effective topics taught to elementary students are abstinence contraceptive use and pregnancy prevention under a comprehensive education An abstinence-only education will not cover all the necessary topics for the children of our time Peer pressure is at its highest and this generation is the most rebellious The children are our future and if they are having children we are only failing ourselves as role models Sex education is very serious and an improvement of its effectiveness is necessary to ensure that those statistics change or else theyll get worse causing more drop outs teenage mothers and AIDS With the acquired knowledge of a substantial comprehensive sex education public and private school systems are determined to keep the statistics down to a minimum Our students are getting pregnant younger and younger and contracting more and more sexually transmitted diseases each year All in all the knowledge of a CSE is something students cannot afford to go without See what they know so they can know all there is to know and more To improve our future we have to first start by getting into the minds of our youth at an early age

Works Cited

Doan Alesha E and Debra R McFarlane Saying No to Abstinence-Only Education An Analysis of State Decision-Making Publius 424 2012 613-635 Web

Eisenberg Marla E Debra H BernatLinda H Bearingerand Michael D Resnick Support for Comprehensive Sexuality Education Perspectives from Parents of School-Age Youth Journal of Adolescent Health 424 2008 352-359 Web

Kidger Judi Measuring effectiveness in school sex educationMethodological Dilemmas in Researching an Intervention Involving Young Mothers British Educational Research Journal 32 2003 291305 Web

Kirby Douglas The Impact of Schools and School Programs upon Adolescent Sexual Behavior Journal of Sex Research 391 2002 27-33 Web

Levy Holli M Meeting the Needs Of All Students Through Differentiated Instruction Helping Every Child Reach And Exceed Standards Clearing House A Journal of Issues and Ideas 814 2008 161-164 Web

Mueller Trisha E Lorrie E Gavin Aniket Kulkarni The Association Between Sex Education and Youths Engagement in Sexual Intercourse Age at First Intercourse and Birth Control Use at First Sex Journal of Adolescent Health 421 2008 8996 Web

Sciaraffa Mary and Theresa Randolph Responding To the Subject Of Sexuality Development In Young Children YC Young Children 664 2011 32-38 Web

Tortolero Susan R Johnson Kimberly Peskin Melissa Cuccaro Paula M Markham Christine Hernandez Belinda F Addy Robert C Shegog Ross and Li Dennis H Dispelling the Myth What Parents Really Think about Sex Education in Schools Journal of Applied Research on Children Informing Policy for Children at Risk Vol 2 2 2011 Web