Sexuality Education for Young Children
You and Me: Sexuality Education for Young Children
Children are taught to have healthy behaviors, such as taking a bath twice a day, brushing their teeth each time they take a bath; eating fruits and vegetables, washing their feet before they go to bed, etc. in their early childhood. Parents teach these behaviors by giving examples and repetition. Other children have also learned how to herd goats, ducks or keep pets since early childhood. Some children even learn to identify poisonous animals and how to avoid them.
Rutgers WPF works to protect children, particularly those who attend kindergarten, against various cases of sexual abuse or violence by providing them with knowledge to avoid such harmful situation. This harmful situation is similar with poisonous animal that children need to avoid.
How to teach this to young children? Parents and kindergarten teachers are very good at teaching something new to young children in kindergarten or preschool. How to teach young children about sexuality and reproductive health?
Rutgers WPF Indonesia has developed an educational program on sexuality specifically designed for children in kindergarten, namely ”You and Me”. We reviewed and combined various learning materials that have been developed around the world. The learning materials/subjects were designed according to children’s learning style and teacher’s teaching skills. Parents are also encouraged to learn the subjects to enable them to teach their children, because children, spend more time with their parents than with their teachers.
The following subjects are included in the You and Me program, which can serve as guideline for teachers or parents in teaching their children:
- You and I are unique
- Me and my body
- When I was a baby
- Me and my friends
- Boys and girls
- Roles of boys and girls
- How to treat your body?
- How to take care of your body
- Family and people around you
- Me and my attire/clothes
- My feelings and your feelings
- Do you do whatever you want to?
These subjects might seem simple but it is important that children learn about these early. The subjects can be taught by teacher in a class, school yard or park through fun games that adopt the Active Joyful Effective Learning (AJEL) principles as an effective learning method for young children. The learning process can be more effective when children are encouraged to participate actively in a joyful activity and atmosphere. Teachers who have mastered these learning materials are expected to train other teachers or parents. Rutgers WPF has also prepared training manual for training of trainers to allow teachers to train their fellow teachers.
In addition to learning materials, Rutgers WPF also provides models for classroom demonstration, such as dolls of a family (father, mother and children (boy&girl ). Dolls have proper anatomy that can help teachers or parents in describing changes in human body, and the mother-doll can deliver a baby doll.
For young children who like reading, Rutgers WPF provides some comics or story book with pictures, such as:
- Where does my little brother/ sister come from? (pregnancy and delivery/ childbirth)
- My Body (body parts, including genitals)
- Male and Female (genders role; understanding the differences)
- My Little Hero (avoiding sexual molestation)
Rutgers WPF has also prepared parental guide that contains learning material/subjects specifically designed for parents. This guide is highly recommended for parents to understand their child growth and anything that is healthy for children.
Rutgers WPF Indonesia hopes that the program will empower children to be ”wise” as to avoid sexual violence, to firmly say ”No”, negotiate smartly to avoid any danger/ harmful situation.
We would like to express our gratitude to Yayasan Bernard van Leer as the donor and the Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (PKBI) as the program implementer for their partnerships with Rutgers WPF in the program since 2005.
If you or your community would like to partner with us for the program, kindly contact Rutgers WPF Indonesia. The success of the program, the number of children we can save and the amount of time required for program implementation highly depend on the participation of all stakeholders who care for children.