Um, have you heard about the new school policy the city of Chicago just approved? If you aren't sure what I'm talking about -- you might want to sit down.
Within the next two years, sexual education will be part of the kindergarten curriculum in public elementary schools. (Yes, I'm totally serious. Sex-ed. In kindergarten.)
And kindergarten is only the beginning, because the new policy states that there must be a set amount of time spent on sexual education for all elementary school grades.
The CEO of the Chicago School System, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, says:
It is important that we provide students of all ages with accurate and appropriate information so they can make healthy choices in regards to their social interactions, behaviors, and relationships. By implementing a new sexual health education policy, we will be helping them to build a foundation of knowledge that can guide them not just in the preadolescent and adolescent years, but throughout their lives.
Ok, that's all well and good and I sort of get what she's saying -- but teaching sex-ed to children as young as 5 years old? Really?
Sooooo, what exactly will Chicago kindergartners be learning? For starters, "anatomy, reproduction, healthy relationships, and personal safety."
And then it progresses from there as the kids move on through each grade.
Before I go any further, it's important to note that parents will be able to opt out of the sexual education program if they choose -- so it's not like it's going to be forced on their kids against their will or anything.
But still, in general, teaching sex-ed to kids that young just seems so unnecessary -- and actually makes me kind of sad.
As the mom of a first grader, every day I see his youthfulness slipping away from me before my eyes. He's already growing up too fast as it is, so the last thing I want is his innocence being taken away from him way too soon.
We are fortunate to live in a small town where he attends a very small elementary school, and luckily, it's a place where the teachers still allow the kids to be kids. (Imagine that.) They don't have a ton of homework. They play in the snow at recess. And (gasp!) -- they stick to the basics like reading, writing, and math when it comes to their curriculum.
Sure, they also have music, art, gym, and computer lab classes -- but I'm honestly not sure what I'd do if sexual education were thrown into the mix of their daily activities. I guess I'd be ok with the personal safety and healthy relationship stuff, but anatomy and reproduction? Not so much. There's plenty of time to learn those things down the road -- when children are older and can digest and understand the topics better.
Five- and six-year-olds should be playing, laughing, and learning basic social and academic concepts -- not hearing about the birds and the bees.
(Man. I'm sure glad we don't live in Chicago.)
Be honest, would you want your kindergartner learning about sex in school?
Image via Navy Hale Keiki School/Flickr