Early Elementary Sex Education Curriculum (grades K-3)

Maggi Rohde (maggi@intranet.org)

HLED 320: Health Education Summer 2001

Resources | Bibliography


Intended Audience

This curriculum is aimed at early elementary students (grades K-3) in the public school. It addresses developmentally appropriate issues for children who have not yet reached puberty in six key concept areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health and society.


Only a few published curricula exist for early elementary students. However, the majority of people in the United States believe elementary schools should include sex education. This brief curriculum, structured around research-based, appropriate concepts, could be used in a school for which no support exists for sexuality education in the elementary grades.

Time Needed

Lessons are designed to be completed within a span of 45-60 minutes each day for four days, with the fifth day saved as a "spill-over" day in case the instructor goes too long or has activities to complete. Predetermined follow-up activities and centers should be set up in classrooms to continue the student’s sexuality education exploration.

Materials Needed

Materials listed in brackets are suggested if the teacher’s budget allows for them. If the physical education teacher is administering the curriculum, every effort should be made to do the instruction within the students’ usual classrooms, not in the gymnasium.


Curriculum Outline

This curriculum is focused on four broad areas:

  1. Providing accurate and appropriate information about sexuality;
  2. Giving students opportunities to develop their attitudes, values and beliefs about sexuality;
  3. Helping students develop relationships and interpersonal skills; and
  4. Providing students instruction and practice in developing personal and sexual responsibility.

More detailed guidelines for developing this curriculum can be found at the SIECUS web site: http://www.siecus.org/pubs/guidelines/guidelines.pdf


Day One: Human Development

  1. Reproductive Anatomy and Physiology
    1. Names of body parts
    2. Differences between boys and girls – including respect for all genders
  2. Reproduction
    1. General physiology of reproduction – male and female required, intercourse, baby grows in uterus
    2. Puberty and body changes – no pregnancy before puberty
    3. Pregnancy and birth
  3. Body Image
    1. Value of differences – male/female, shapes, sizes, colors, disabilities, etc.
    2. Pride in and appreciation of one’s body
  4. Sexual Identity and Orientation
    1. Gender – boys/girls and men/women
    2. Homosexuality and heterosexuality and appropriate labels (gay men and lesbians)
    3. Respect for all sexual orientations

Day Two: Relationships

  1. Families
    1. Different kinds of families
    2. Change over time (roles, structure, new babies, etc.)
    3. Role of families: taking care of each other, developing rules, loving each other
  2. Friendship
    1. Components of friendship
    2. Sharing, hurting and forgiving feelings
    3. Different structures of friendships – gender, age
  3. Love
    1. Importance of showing and sharing love
    2. Different ways to show love (family, friends, etc.)
  4. Dating
    1. Definition of dating
    2. People who date: teenagers, unmarried adults, single parents
  5. Marriage and Lifetime Commitments
    1. Reasons for marriage
    2. Marriage for a lifetime
    3. Divorce; reasons and difficulties of divorce
  6. Raising Children
    1. Reasons for having children
    2. Raising children is for adults – effort, commitment
    3. Adoption

Day Two continued: Personal Skills

  1. Values
    1. Definition
    2. We all have different values
  2. Decision-making
    1. Examples of decisions we make, others make
    2. Developing our skills in decision-making
    3. Getting help in making decisions
  3. Communication
    1. Verbal and nonverbal communication
    2. Importance of communication
  4. Assertiveness
    1. Importance of sharing your feelings
    2. Personal rights and telling people what you want
    3. Parents sometimes override your rights
  5. Looking for Help
    1. Who to ask for help: parents first
    2. If parents can’t help: teacher, counselor, minister, friends’ parents

Day Three: Sexual Behavior

  1. Sexuality Throughout Life
    1. Bodies feel good
    2. Body curiosity is normal
  2. Masturbation
    1. Definition
    2. Boys and girls masturbate
    3. Private (not secret) activity
  3. Shared Sexual Behavior
    1. Touching, hugging, kissing, sexual behavior
    2. To show love and share pleasure
  4. Human Sexual Response
    1. Normal, healthy for people to enjoy
    2. Boys’ and girls’ bodies are more alike than different

Day Three continued: Sexual Health

  1. Contraception & Abortion
    1. Wanted and unwanted pregnancies
    2. The choice to have children is up to the people involved
  2. STDs and HIV
    1. Definition and causes (bacteria or viruses)
    2. Ways of getting STDs
    3. Ways you cannot get STDs
  3. Sexual Abuse
    1. Body rights
    2. Good touch/bad touch
    3. Appropriate & inappropriate nudity
    4. What to do if you feel abused or afraid -- tell a trusted adult
    5. Never the fault of the child
    6. Both boys and girls can be abused
  4. Reproductive and Genital Health
    1. Keeping your genitals healthy -- washing, doctor visits
    2. Healthy & unhealthy behavior during pregnancy -- drugs/smoking, etc.

Day Four: Society and Culture

  1. Gender Roles
    1. Boys and girls -- similarities and differences
    2. Parents’ roles
    3. Expectations of boys vs. girls
  2. Sexuality and Religion
    1. Religion sometimes has opinions on sexuality
    2. Differences in religion and values -- some similar, some different
  3. Diversity
    1. Why talking about differences is important
    2. Stereotypes
    3. Discrimination -- all people should be treated fair and equal
  4. Sexuality and the Media
    1. Truth vs. fiction about sexuality on TV/movies/Internet
    2. Age appropriateness
    3. Commercials


Suggested Activities

Day One: Human Development

Day Two: Relationships & Personal Skills

Day Three: Sexual Behavior and Health

Day Four: Society and Culture

Day Five: Follow-Up and Wrap-Up