As I sat eating boiled eggs with my 6 year old daughter yesterday, she told me about the chicks at school which had hatched the day before. In the playground her friend had told her that girl chickens make eggs that hatch into chicks and male chickens made the eggs that we eat for breakfast. ‘Hmm’ I said ‘not sure it’s quite like that’. We then proceeded to have a conversation about fertilization and the unique roles males and females have in reproduction. As she contemplated the conversation and munched on her soldiers she sighed and said ‘that’s amazing’. ‘Yes’, I thought ‘it really is amazing’.
So why is it that for some talking about something so amazing can be so scary? Admittedly for me the conversation felt natural, but then again after 15 years of working in sex and relationships education (SRE) one would expect a certain level of confidence- which makes me think that confidence really is the key. Over the last 25 years the primary role of the Sex Education Forum (SEF) has been about building confidence. Whether it is the confidence of teachers to deliver SRE, or schools to review SRE, for policy makers to advocate for better SRE, young people to campaign for SRE, or for parents to talk to their children, we can not underestimate the importance of organisations like SEF in showing the world that SRE is NOTHING TO BE SCARED OF!
As part of their quest to build the confidence of practitioners, SEF have published a range of resources, many of which I have had the fortune of being involved with. One resource ‘Laying the Foundations: A practical guide to SRE in primary schools’ published today, has been particularly close to my heart. Having my own young children I have realised the importance of SRE starting early and for competent and confident teachers to deal with this topic in a sensitive way. Building the confidence of primary schools to plan and deliver quality SRE which children need and deserve is really important, and this new resource is designed to do just that. As for parents, every one I have ever spoken to has agreed that when their children start asking about the birds and the bees over breakfast it would be reassuring to know that their school would help with answering these questions. Now if every school could, wouldn’t THAT be amazing!