Early Elementary Sex Education Curriculum
Maggi Rohde (firstname.lastname@example.org)
HLED 320: Health Education Summer 2001
Resources | Bibliography
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.
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 students sexuality education exploration.
Materials listed in brackets are suggested if the teachers
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.
Photocopies of boys and
girls whole body anatomy with clear labels
Large black or white board for whole-class instruction
Books (see Lessons and Resource List for suggestions)
Crayons, markers or other drawing tools
[Medical models of reproductive anatomy]
- Overhead projector and transparencies [with corresponding handouts in
a packet for each student]
This curriculum is focused on four broad areas:
- Providing accurate and appropriate information about sexuality;
- Giving students opportunities to develop their attitudes, values and
beliefs about sexuality;
- Helping students develop relationships and interpersonal skills;
- Providing students instruction and practice in developing personal and
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
- Reproductive Anatomy and Physiology
- Names of body parts
- Differences between boys and girls including respect for all
- General physiology of reproduction male and female required,
intercourse, baby grows in uterus
- Puberty and body changes no pregnancy before puberty
- Pregnancy and birth
- Body Image
- Value of differences male/female, shapes, sizes, colors,
- Pride in and appreciation of ones body
- Sexual Identity and Orientation
- Gender boys/girls and men/women
- Homosexuality and heterosexuality and appropriate labels (gay men and
- Respect for all sexual orientations
Day Two: Relationships
- Different kinds of families
- Change over time (roles, structure, new babies, etc.)
- Role of families: taking care of each other, developing rules, loving
- Components of friendship
- Sharing, hurting and forgiving feelings
- Different structures of friendships gender, age
- Importance of showing and sharing love
- Different ways to show love (family, friends, etc.)
- Definition of dating
- People who date: teenagers, unmarried adults, single parents
- Marriage and Lifetime Commitments
- Reasons for marriage
- Marriage for a lifetime
- Divorce; reasons and difficulties of divorce
- Raising Children
- Reasons for having children
- Raising children is for adults effort, commitment
Day Two continued: Personal Skills
- We all have different values
- Examples of decisions we make, others make
- Developing our skills in decision-making
- Getting help in making decisions
- Verbal and nonverbal communication
- Importance of communication
- Importance of sharing your feelings
- Personal rights and telling people what you want
- Parents sometimes override your rights
- Looking for Help
- Who to ask for help: parents first
- If parents cant help: teacher, counselor, minister,
Day Three: Sexual Behavior
- Sexuality Throughout Life
- Bodies feel good
- Body curiosity is normal
- Boys and girls masturbate
- Private (not secret) activity
- Shared Sexual Behavior
- Touching, hugging, kissing, sexual behavior
- To show love and share pleasure
- Human Sexual Response
- Normal, healthy for people to enjoy
- Boys and girls bodies are more alike than
Day Three continued: Sexual Health
- Contraception & Abortion
- Wanted and unwanted pregnancies
- The choice to have children is up to the people involved
- STDs and HIV
- Definition and causes (bacteria or viruses)
- Ways of getting STDs
- Ways you cannot get STDs
- Sexual Abuse
- Body rights
- Good touch/bad touch
- Appropriate & inappropriate nudity
- What to do if you feel abused or afraid -- tell a trusted adult
- Never the fault of the child
- Both boys and girls can be abused
- Reproductive and Genital Health
- Keeping your genitals healthy -- washing, doctor visits
- Healthy & unhealthy behavior during pregnancy -- drugs/smoking,
Day Four: Society and Culture
- Gender Roles
- Boys and girls -- similarities and differences
- Parents roles
- Expectations of boys vs. girls
- Sexuality and Religion
- Religion sometimes has opinions on sexuality
- Differences in religion and values -- some similar, some
- Why talking about differences is important
- Discrimination -- all people should be treated fair and
- Sexuality and the Media
- Truth vs. fiction about sexuality on TV/movies/Internet
- Age appropriateness
Day One: Human Development
- Begin with direct instruction to help the children become
comfortable with sexual terminology. Provide dittoes of naked boys and
girls with clearly labeled body parts, and instruct them to "color the
feet green" and "color the scrotum orange."
- Lead a concept attainment lesson on body diversity. Help the
children name the ways in which our bodies can be different: color, shape,
size, ability, gender, age, etc. Provide pictures of many different body
types (an excellent cartoon-style drawing of body diversity can be found
in Its Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris).
- Provide hands-on, realistic models of the male and female genitalia
for children to touch, take apart and examine. This may be some
childrens only chance to see adult genitalia up close before they
become adults themselves, and it may help them feel much more comfortable
with themselves and others.
- Read a story book about pregnancy to the class such as You Were
Born On Your Very First Birthday by Kieffer and Girard. Invite
children to respond and ask questions afterwards. If possible, arrange for
a pregnant mom to come into class to talk about being pregnant.
- Use the book Love Makes A Family by Gigi Kaeser to show and
describe gay and lesbian relationships and families.
Day Two: Relationships & Personal Skills
- Have the class describe the concept of family by listing
examples of families. Children may describe their own families.
- Play a "Game of Life" on the board by drawing a flow chart of
relationships. Begin with family, then move to friendship, love, dating,
marriage/lifetime commitments and having/raising children. Question each
next step; ask if there are other possibilities. Include not having
children, not getting married, not dating, etc. as possibilities.
- Add divorce to the flow chart. Talk about how families can change.
- Lead a concept attainment lesson on values.
- Provide a chance for children to role-play expressing their feelings:
give them a scenario, ask them how they might feel, what they might do,
and try sharing their feelings with another person. Help children with
difficult vocabulary (have them repeat it, write it on the board, use it
several times, etc.) such as communication and
assertiveness, or use simpler words.
- Have the class help make a list of authority figures they
Day Three: Sexual Behavior and Health
- Reinforce that bodies feel good by talking about fun activities we
do with our bodies (running, swimming, hugging, etc.). Emphasize that it
is normal and healthy to enjoy our bodies by ourselves or with other
- Address masturbation as a normal, private (but not secret) activity.
Depending on the religious makeup of the community, you may wish to
minimize discussion of the topic of masturbation at this point, but at
least mention the concept.
- Help the class compare and contrast boys and girls bodies.
Older classes (2nd and 3rd grades) can do a
think-pair-share. You could use a comparative chart or drawing.
- Directly address forms of sexual health: hygiene, regular doctor
visits, staying away from germs and illnesses. Teach the concept of STDs
and mention HIV, but focus on the idea that you have to have sex to get
STDs. Introduce special health concerns that come up during pregnancy,
such as with smoking.
- Read or share a story about good touch/bad touch. Engage students in
discussion of their own body rights and what to do if they feel
uncomfortable. Emphasize that it is never any childs fault if
an adult makes them uncomfortable.
Day Four: Society and Culture
- Lead an inquiry lesson on the question "Why do boys and girls get
treated differently?" Help younger children come up with ways in which
gender roles are enforced with children (toys, clothes, etc.). Have the
class hypothesize about gender roles and take questions home to ask their
parents or other adults (to discuss on Day Five).
- Teach a direct instruction lesson on the opinions of various religions
about sexuality. Answer any general questions, but suggest students ask
their parents about any specific questions regarding their religion and
sexuality. Older classes may compare and contrast the teachings of two or
three major religions.
- Do a concept attainment lesson about discrimination and
stereotypes. (They should be able to come up with some great stereotypes.)
- Follow that up with a discussion about sexuality in the media: have
them name realistic and unrealistic examples of sexuality. Talk about the
medias idea of "beauty." Older classes may want to analyze a clip of
a Disney cartoon to show the stereotypical presentations of beauty and
Day Five: Follow-Up and Wrap-Up
- Listen to and talk about students parents responses to
their questions about gender roles.
- Cover any material that was skipped, skimmed over or otherwise missed.
- A certificate or other extrinsic reward may be given, or teachers
could show a video about any of the topics addressed in the curriculum