Outcry over call for sex education for six-year-olds

September 18th, 2008 - 1:53 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 18 (IANS) Start sex education for children early, says a British family planning group, which has shocked parents by even bringing out an illustrated pamphlet for marketing in primary schools.The Family Planning Association, known as fpa, has designed a 12-page comic “Let’s Grow with Joe and Nisha” for the six-year-olds.

The comic, priced at 15 pounds for 50 copies, invites students to list differences between boys’ and girls’ bodies and draw a line from words in boxes to the body parts they identify. The fpa plans to print 50,000 copies in the first run.

Guidance for teachers on using the comic says: “Young children can believe incorrect, confusing and misleading information about puberty and sex which they have worked out either on their own or with the help of friends and siblings.

“Talking about body parts is often easier for children when they are younger, as they are less conscious about their bodies. If parents and teachers don’t talk to children about growing up, they may pick up the idea that it is scary or shouldn’t be talked about.”

Chief Executive of fpa Julie Bentley told Daily Mail that sex education at primary level was intermittent and inconsistent across the country and the comic should help encourage schools which are not providing sex education to start doing so.

But angry parents condemned it as ‘too much too young’ and warned against robbing children of their innocence.

Margaret Morrissey, of the lobby group Parents Outloud, said she would have gone “ballistic” had her own children brought a copy home.

“Giving children explicit names for body parts at this age seems clinical. We are feeding them this information when they still should be playing with dolls and toy cars. We have got to be so careful that we are educating, not confusing or putting fear into their minds.”

Norman Wells, director of Family and Youth Concern, said: “The fpa wants to ride roughshod over the views of parents and force all primary schools to provide sex education, whether parents and teachers like it or not.”

The comic proposal comes in the wake of the government’s proposal to review sex education in schools. Currently, heads of primary schools and governors decide whether or not to provide sex education beyond the compulsory science requirements in the national curriculum.

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