The Wonder of Living Program is our foundational program conducted in three age brackets: Years 1 to 3, Years 4 & 5 and Year 6. The program offered is in fact a combination of movies and educator lead class discussions on the wonder of life. The discussion centres around a dialogue of sharing with the children, that elevates not only their knowledge of human development, but an appreciation and valuing of ‘the self’ as unique and special. The discussion highlights how family is important and special, being a foundation on which to build a personal valuing of human sexuality consistent with parental instruction. Parents and carers are welcome and encouraged to join their child in the movie sessions.
Once again this topic is delivered in the mindset of “timely and prudent sex education”. It is known that 61.5% of sexual activity is conducted with “Your current steady girlfriend/boyfriend”. Approximately 5% of sexual activity has resulted in pregnancy; 55.7% of sexually active teenagers talked about avoiding pregnancy; 20.2% talk about avoiding an STI; 70.4% talked about using a condom. In terms of contraception, the majority of sexually active students are using the condom and the pill, 67.6% using a condom and 49.8% using the pill, indicating some are using a combination. Therefore it is necessary at this stage of the adolescent’s journey to explore the complexities of this reality and the multiplicity of decisions that one faces in regards to sexual conduct and the reality this proposes around pregnancy and life consequences. The purpose of focussing on methods of family planning is that this addresses the practical decisions that students are facing; the ethical and relationship concepts that need to be considered; and opens up further discussion and development of the spiritual/faith aspects of sexual conduct.
This session is a summary session specifically designed to highlight the difficulties of decision making during adolescence and provide tools to help the teenager to make the logical decisions they truly want to make. To achieve this, the session focusses on the mechanics of choice making; expressly how are choices made in the brain. The session highlights the stages of brain growth and development including the impact on choice for the adolescent. Specifically, this session focusses on how states of emotional arousal, including peer pressure, sexual desire etc. impact rational decision making in the adolescent brain and provides a reflective tool for assisting in the process when adult help is difficult to source. This session then provides us the tools and understanding to explore the concepts of STI’s, fertility management and sexual ethics in the senior years.
Movie 2: And Now There’s me
"We spend some time with Lisa, her friend Lim and their families and other friends, and learn more about: our amazing bodies and how they function; the importance of trusting relationships; the unique role of the family; sexual intercourse and reproduction; love and responsibility; our health, our safety and our choices."
This movie builds on the foundational understanding from the first movie, namely the awareness of the gift of life and uniqueness that exist within each one of us. This movie explores now in more depth the concept of human sexuality in it’s totality as described in the movie description. The information in the movie is merely an introduction to physical realities, and spends more time focusing on the emotional realities and relational circumstances of the sexuality concepts explored. In addition to this movie the children are again led through the life of a baby inside the womb by the use of foetal development models. With a growing understanding of human sexuality appropriate to their intellectual needs, engaging the models is a way of addressing more questions the children may have. This use of models creates a personal environment where the children feel secure to ask questions.
Movie 1: A New Baby!
"Erica and Jim and their two children, Lisa (9) and Daniel (6) are eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new baby. Daniel, in particular, has many questions and his parents share with him and his sister the wonderful story of how life in the womb grows, by reliving the time of Daniel’s own development and birth."
In addition to the movie a Family Life Educator will engage the students at an age appropriate level to help answer questions the children may have and correct any misunderstandings that may exist. All education is aimed at supporting parents and at no time is language used that would be intended to contradict the instruction of parents.
The life choices program is the last in the series and as such is an opportunity for students to discuss those aspects of sexuality that they would like to address again or feel they haven’t covered. This direction from the students is the highest priority for this presentation and is usually a re-addressing of topics covered in previous sessions. The content of the sessions can vary depending on what contemporary focus seems most relevant to serve as the medium best suited to explore the concept of sexuality and life choices. The aim is to expand the reflective ability of the students in the area of a personal sexual ethic
By this stage of a teenager’s development the more physical aspects of human sexuality are becoming an aspect of interest. According to the results of the 4th National Survey of Australian Secondary Students, HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health (Smith, Agius, Mitchell, Barrett & Pitts. 2008) of year 10 students 69.4% of males & 71.1% of females have experienced deep kissing; 55.2% of males & 55.8% of females have experienced sexual touching; 32.4% of males & 34.3% of females have experienced oral sex. 27.1% of males & 27.6% of females have reported ever having sexual intercourse and just over 70% of yr 10 students reported having sexual activity of some form. Given these statistics, it is imperative that the yr10’s level of intellectual understanding on the consequences of promiscuity match the level of social pressure and culture existing around them towards sexual conduct.
These sessions focus on the whole person physically, emotionally and spiritually. These sessions understand sexual health to be a holistic concept; keeping in mind the term sexual is not in any way a simple focus on sexual intercourse; but rather a much larger concept, including things such as understanding self, interests, culture and belief; and, how these factors influence behaviour towards others and in relationship with others.
The aim of this series is to impart an understanding of the biological reality of human sexuality in the context of the marvel of creation. This does not replace what is taught in physical education curriculums nor is it doubling up. What is taught is focussed on the intricacies of the reproductive system and the marvel that it is. All content is focussed towards fostering an understanding of the value and dignity that resides within each of us. This understanding begins to inform the teenager of the decisions that he/she has to make and how these can affect them as a person physically, emotionally and spiritually, both now and in the future.
Puberty talks over the years have proven to be a very effective method of helping young people negotiate the onset of Puberty. The session offers useful advice, information strategies and support to help students understand what is normal and what to expect during puberty. Puberty sessions are always conducted in gender specific groups and preferably in Years 5 and 6 separately. Where necessary specialised programs are designed for a combined audience.
The aim of puberty talks at this age level is largely preparatory. The main focus is on hygiene during puberty, and some emotional changes that they can expect. The session also includes tools on how to navigate puberty. Another function of this session is to dispel any myths and misconceptions the children may have about themselves, physically and emotionally.
This session focuses more in depth on the emotional side of puberty changes. This includes some of the pitfalls to be avoided, particularly in the area of relationships, sexuality, and physical attraction. It is a time to provide the opportunity for the students to ask questions they would otherwise not ask and therefore source answers for elsewhere. It is a time to dispel myths and misconceptions about themselves and their development. Throughout the ‘puberty talks’ presentation it is always encouraged and recommended that the students talk to their respective parent or carer regarding any puberty and/or sexuality issues. Students are encouraged to have ready a list of trusted adults that they feel comfortable to approach and discuss sensitive topics.
Since its inception in 1996, Natural Fertility Services (NFS) has developed a program of instruction for sexuality education. The Program extends from year 1 through to Year 12. In Primary school the Title of the program is the ‘Wonders of Living’ (Rate, A., Kearney, J., MacMahon, E., 2007), taking its name from the video resource used in this aspect of the program. In Year 5 and 6 we also conduct a ‘Puberty’ preparation program, gender specific. In High school years 7 - 9 the program is called ‘Sexual and Reproductive Health’, and is also gender specific. In year 10 one session is run on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI). Year 11 is a session on ‘All Methods of Family Planning’ and year 12 is a session entitled ‘Life Choices’. The NFS program needs to be complimentary to the work of the school and is dependant also on appropriate support and follow-up services. As the foundation of this program, human sexuality is a wholistic reality and cannot be linealised into progressive stages, nor, compartmentalised into certain segments. Each stage of the program is not just a progression towards the final outcome but presents the total vision as it can be understood at the student’s present level of understanding. Facts are presented honestly and openly in a manner that can be understood and accepted without enlightening the student beyond the needs of their intellectual and physical maturation. It needs to be said that ‘Health Outcomes’ are not the primary focus of this program. However, in working with the student to foster a character that values the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of human sexuality, choices based on these values will necessarily inform better ‘health outcomes’ as the student will have reason and the inclination to make better choices.
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