Right from the start: guidelines for sexuality issues (birth to five years)

Learning & Teaching Materials
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, SIECUS
65 p.

These guidelines were developed by a task force of experts and have been thoroughly reviewed by professionals. The vision of sexuality advocated is a "natural and healthy part of living that begins at birth and continues throughout life". The guidelines recommend actively including parents and caregivers in the teaching process and advising preschools and childcare centres to keep their teaching consistent with community norms. The approach promoted is to answer children's questions accurately and age-appropriately, to help them appreciate their body by developing their senses, to foster respect and tolerance for others, to develop communication skills, simple decision-making and problem-solving, as well as to acquire good hygiene habits. Guidance is also provided on what approach to take to children's sexual curiosity, as well as on preventing and detecting sexual abuse. The purpose of this document is to provide a model for developmentally appropriate preschool sexuality education, to promote and foster healthy attitudes and behaviour towards sexuality and sexual health and provide guidance for educators in preschool and childcare centres to provide "nurturing and supportive sexuality information for young children". This booklet includes: a section on how to use the guidelines; a section on infancy; six sections devoted to each of the concepts that should be discussed with children and how to discuss them (human development, relationships, personal skills, behaviour, health, society and culture). Each of the concepts is divided into a number of topics; additional readings and references. Each topic is divided along the following sections: "Discussion" explaining why and how this topic is of relevance; "key messages for children"; "additional messages for older preschoolers" and "how adults can help". Practical examples of how to communicate these concepts are given.

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