Most parents are uncomfortable discussing the topic of where babies come from before children are 10, but the answer is easier than most adults realize — and the “Amaze Jr.” video series is designed to help explain this and other topics to young students, according to The Hechinger Report.
The videos dive into the differences between boys and girls, explain that babies grow inside of mothers’ bodies in a uterus and that they emerge into the world through a vagina, and largely stick to a “just-the-facts” approach that satisfies many of younger children’s questions.
Sex education in schools is limited for younger age groups, with only Oregon, Delaware and Washington, D.C., requiring comprehensive sex education beginning in kindergarten, and only 31 states requiring sex ed in any grade. Another 21 states don’t require sex ed to be medically accurate, while seven require that teachers portray those in the LGBTQ community negatively or ban teachers from mentioning those groups all together.
The amount of sexual education taught, and when it is given, varies from state to state — and some states don’t address the issue at all. The Austin Independent School District in Texas recently sought input on the topic from the community by holding focus groups and sending out surveys. The responses surprised the district, particularly about the importance of learning about consent in sexual relationships.
The National Sexuality Education Standards backed by the American School Health Association, American Association for Health Education, National Educaiton Association Health Information Network and Future of Sex Education say students should be able to identify what consent means in high school, but only eight states require that sexual education mention the topic. Part of the curriculum should include teaching students how to say the word “no” and also respect it when it’s said to them by others.
Some sexuality educators believe discussions about what is and isn’t consent should begin before students hit puberty. Instilling the idea that “no means no” is important to do early on, they say.
Research also shows abstinence-only sex education does not prevent unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. Students are less likely to have sex, get pregnant and contract STDs if their schools teach sex ed.
A tiered, age-appropriate approach may be the best route. Boston Public Schools, for example, starts a comprehensive sex ed program in elementary school that starts with hygiene, puberty and friendships before discussing more mature topics like contraception, sexual decision-making, dating violence, consent, gender identity and sexual preferences as students get older.