WHAT ever happened to the saying “let kids be kids”?
Too often, today’s society seems to be forcing children to mature before their time. Whether it be the clothes they wear (there was the recent debate about a major chain store’s line of inappropriate clothing for pre-teen girls), the shows they watch (even some early evening viewing has been deemed raunchy) or the books they read (some parents have been accused of buying the highly sexualised Fifty Shades of Grey books for their young daughters), there seems to be a rush on “growing up”.
This is sad, because in a blink of an eye, a person’s childhood has gone. All too quickly, a child goes from being a little one running the backyard, making mud pies, building cubby houses out of bed sheets and helping mum bake cakes in the kitchen, to an adult with the responsibility of work for a living, paying off a mortgage and raising a family of their own.
It’s bad enough that the kids today want to be old before their time, but now education experts want children as young as five to be given formal sex education at school.
While teaching children about the birds and the bees is a must, the question needs to be asked: “How young is too young to learn about sex?”
Nine schools in Geelong have been earmarked as a blueprint for sex education lessons as part of a new way to teach prep-aged pupils about sexuality, safe sex, abstinence, love and intimacy, as well as about respectful relationships and the biological difference between boys and girls.
If successful, education experts hope to roll out the curriculum into other Victorian schools.
The five-year program, run by the Geelong schools, Family Planning Victoria, Deakin University and Barwon Health, was apparently instigated by parents and teachers concerned that not enough was being taught about sex and relationships.
While those running the program have stated that the focus would be age-appropriate material, others have rightfully voiced their concerns that the material would, in fact, be inappropriate.
The innocence of a child – particularly those as young as five – needs to be protected for as long as possible. There is nothing wrong with a little bit of naivety as a youngster.
The current sex education curriculum is geared towards the older primary school-aged children, those in grades five and six. Most of these aged pupils are “mature” enough to understand the complexities of sex and being in a relationship. However, pupils in grades prep and one – those earmarked for the new sex education lessons – are far too young to grasp the concept of sex, sexuality and relationships.
Maybe, to preserve our children’s childhood innocence, we need to turn back the clock a bit and let kids be kids.