Each week, The CSPH answers questions that have been submitted anonymously through our Formspring or other channels. This week’s question is:
My friend is working at my old elementary school and her mentor says that they’re using the same sex ed videos from when I was in elementary school (roughly about 10 years ago and even then it seemed dated). They’re currently looking for a new one and have no idea where to start. Are there any new videos you could recommend for a 5th grade audience to learn about anatomy and the general basics?
This particular video resource, by Growing Up Comes First is one of our top recommendations! This animation is humorous and informative, tackling all the changes that come with puberty, including hair growth, acne, body odor, and emotional development, as well as sexual maturation. It’s especially good because it features non-white cartoons and real youth voices. The website also includes various interactive sections that go into detail around physiology (with accompanying videos here and here) and genital anatomy, both internal and external, for males and females. Superstar Health Education has some good information around devising lesson plans to teach puberty/anatomy to 5th graders, too, albeit no video resources like the ones you seek.
With abstinence-only sex education programs in place across the country, let’s celebrate the small victory that your friend’s school appears to still be teaching comprehensive sex education, despite using outdated materials. While abstinence until marriage may be a valid life choice for an individual, abstinence-only education avoids discussion of safe sex and contraceptives and tends to include a moralistically limited view of sexuality. Comprehensive sex education covers abstinence as one option among many for safe sex, in addition to information on contraception, providing adolescents with more information to assist them in making an informed decision.
One study shows that abstinence-only education is less effective and may contain medical inaccuracies, while another shows that adolescents with comprehensive sex education are at a lower risk for pregnancy than adolescents with abstinence only education. Individual studies don’t have you convinced? Click here for a comprehensive report on the impact and effects of abstinence only education.
Although fifth grade may be just the start of sex education in school for these youth, having resources available during the entire span of their development will help prepare them for the future. Our understanding and societal approach to sexuality is ever evolving, so kudos to you and your friend for wanting to keep up to date on educational materials. This informal StayTeen poll shows that 43% of teens felt their knowledge outweighed that of their teachers, and 31% received no sex education at all through school programs, so it’s our duty as educators/adults/parents to keep learning in order to best convey accurate information about sexuality to our nation’s youth.
In order to help with that, we’ve compiled a variety of resources that might help! We have also included resources for adolescents and parents, as sex education should be the combined effort of multiple sources, and not just something that gets discussed at school.
Resources for Educators:
- The CSPH’s Curricular Resources – Though the focus of The CSPH is to provide resources for adults, there are several resources for educators that may be applicable to adolescents. We also have a variety of Teaching Tools available upon request.
- Planned Parenthood’s Tools for Educators – Featuring one of the most extensive sex education video collections, as well as curricula, pamphlets, and research papers, Planned Parenthood is one of the best resources for educators.
- Advocates for Youth Sex Education Resource Center – An incredible collection of resources, including multimedia materials, for sex educators and advocates alike. The lesson plans for educators may be used as a standalone sexual health curriculum or to augment a science-based program. Provides a wealth of sample advocacy materials for teachers interested in initiating change in their school or community’s approach to sex education.
- Teaching Puberty: You Can Do It! – An online video resource to prepare educators for teaching sex education.
- Teaching Sexual Health – Created by educators and health professionals, includes demonstration videos, lesson plans by grade or topic, and many more teaching tools.
- TES – The largest network of teachers in the world, the Times Educational Supplement offers several videos as supplements to sex education curriculum.
- Sexuality Education: Teenagers – This channel on the Sex Smart Films site (promoting sexual literacy) has several sex education videos tailored to teens that may be useful in the classroom.
- Choices, Inc. – Sexuality education films for people with intellectual & other developmental disabilities. Includes films targeting teens as well as adults.
- Family Health International’s Teacher Training and School Based Sexuality Education – Includes links to a variety of resources for educators, from curricula, to guides, to reviews of scientific and socioeconomic studies.
- SexEd Library – This site compiles lesson plans from several government and educational sources, and the professional development toolkit lists dozens of organizations to help educators continually improve their sex education curriculum.
- P&G’s School Programs include the Always Changing Program for 5th Grade Girls and Boys and the Being Girl Health and Wellness Program for Girls 7th Grade & Up. They have educator kits available to order and a number of free downloadable materials and videos. Please note that while these materials may be beneficial, a Proctor & Gamble product bias may be present in some recommendations.
- Promethean Planet – As the “World’s Largest Interactive Whiteboard Community,” this site provides free videos for educators all over the world (in several different languages) on a variety of topics, including sex education.
- HSSE Educational Resources – A non profit group, Heterosexuals for Same Sex Equality (HSSE) offers materials for teachers that promote equality and acceptance through a heterosexual voice, providing the means for everyone to demonstrate their support for same sex equality.
- NCDB Sex Education Materials – The National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness has compiled publications that focus on sex education for people with disabilities.
- Lesson Planet – Compiles resources for teachers including several sex education lesson plans and presentations.
Resources for Parents:
- Use your words! – The CSPH’s vlog series for parents who want to talk with their kids about sexuality in a healthy, fun, comfortable, and informative way.
- Advocates for Youth’s Parent’s Sex Ed Center – Featuring everything from understanding growth and development in children of all ages, to helping parents and children start talking about sexuality, and how to keep talking about important sexual topics, this center is a great start for parents, with some publications even available in multiple languages.
- There’s No Place Like Home for Sex Education – Written with the belief that sex education programs “need to be viewed in conjunction with, not in place of, parent-child communication about sex”, this is an incredibly informative guide for parents on how to talk to their kid(s) of all ages about puberty and sexuality.
- Teaching Sexual Health: Parent Portal – Focuses on the Parent’s Role in sex education, with many resources and tips on how to incorporate your family values when talking to your kids about sex.
- Teen Sexuality and Dating on Education.com – Information compiled from a variety of educational sources written with parents in mind. This site provides comprehensive sex education during adolescent development and topics include puberty, sexual orientation, pregnancy, health issues, dating, and more.
- What Makes A Baby – This inclusive children’s book was written for every kind of family and every kind of child in mind. Taking into account the wide variety of family structures and reproductive means parent(s) may use to have a baby, it’s a wonderful modern tale of what makes a baby.
- Talk With Your Kids – Resources for parents and professionals on fostering healthy communication with kids about sexuality.
Resources for Adolescents:
- Stay Teen – In their own words, “The goal of Stay Teen is to encourage you to enjoy your teen years and avoid the responsibilities that come with too-early pregnancy and parenting. The more you know about issues like sex, relationships, waiting, and contraception, the better prepared you will be to make informed choices for your future.” This engaging site includes safe sex and contraceptive information, statistics, personal stories, videos, and interactive games for teens.
- Scarleteen – Dedicated to sex ed for the real world, Scarleteen is tailored to teens and beyond. A great mix of informative (e.g. Start Your Sexuality Canon) and thought-provoking (e.g. How Can Sex Ed Prevent Rape?) posts makes this one of the best resources for adolescents.
- Advocates’ Youth Activist Network – “…[C]omprised of over 20,000 young people with a commitment to securing honest sexual health information and affordable, confidential sexual health services for all young people as well as redressing health disparities and ending discrimination.”