'Together we all belong, together we will grow strong'
Outlined below is a guide to when, what and how this is taught across the school.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development:
NSPCC ‘Pants’ circle time. This is taught once a year. It focuses on the ‘underwear rule’ and which adults can see parts of your body which is covered by your clothes and underwear (such as adults in your family that are washing or dressing you, or a doctor when they are checking something). PANTS stands for: ‘privates are private, always remember your body belongs to you, no means no, talk about secrets that upset you, speak up someone can help’. Parents are always informed before this circle time takes place.
In the Early Years there is education about relationships with a focus on friendship, bullying and the building of self –esteem. This is done regularly through various circle time activities.
Understanding the World:
The area of learning ‘Understanding the World’ covers simple lifecycles. This is done each year through rotating topics such as ‘Growing’ and ‘Minibeasts’.
Every other year we will cover a topic relating to ‘Ourselves’. This focuses on different parts of the body, how we change as we grow from babies into adults, such as what we can do as our bodies change.
Questions that may arise:
In the Early Years, children are curious and often ask questions. The staff answer questions as they arise, when relevant. To encourage our partnership with parents, we ensure that parents and carers are informed of the conversations and the questions asked, if they do arise.
Animals including Humans, discussing parts of the body as appropriate, children asked questions about the body and various functions.. Plant. Both of these topics are studied each year . Life cycles are incorporated into these topics.
Topic-A topic looking at changes over the lifetime of the child, which gives an opportunity to look at the changes to the child over time.
Cycles of life when looking at the function of the church. Appropriate relationships, looking at friendship circles.
NSPCC Pants talk, general discussion of appropriate places to touch people.
In class questions are addressed as and when they arise, at a level that is appropriate to the child. Obv this arises a lot when a new baby is born in a family.
Lifecycles of plants, animals and humans are taught in various science topics: Living things (plants); Animals including humans; Living things (habitats and food chains); Evolution an inheritance. These science topics are spread throughout our three year program.
During our “Ourselves” topic we cover various aspects: discussion of how humans change and grow, how to stay healthy as our bodies change (puberty and hygiene) and the lifecycle of humans. We compare the life cycles of humans and different animals, talking about length of life, gestation periods etc. This topic comes round every three years so each child does it once during their time in Oak.
During our “Planet Earth” topic we learn about habitats, adaptation and life cycles of animals. This is used as a basis for discussions about the human life cycle.
Each of our science based topics is about 18 months from the science unit covering that topic, so for example a child who covered our “Ourselves topic” during year four would cover science topics on animals including humans in year five and plant and animal life cycles during year six. This way it is not a problem if children join during year five or six, or leave after year four.
Children learn that there are two kinds of changes – physical and emotional – that are part of growing up and have some strategies for managing these. They identify ways in which they have changed in appearance, personality and relationships as they have grown up. They reflect positively on their own growth and change. They understand what it means ‘to be responsible’ and ‘take on responsibilities’. They learn to identify ways in which their responsibilities have changed as they have grown up. They begin to identify ways in which they can become more responsible as they are growing up.
We look at identifying the stages of life from pregnancy to old age. They become aware of stereotyping and discrimination based on age. Children begin to understand why young people may want to grow up too soon and identify some of the risks of this. They can explain some of the responsibilities of parenthood and some of the problems of becoming young parents.
We also provide a series of specific year five/six sessions on more detailed aspects of puberty and growing up. We use the Channel 4 Living and Growing resources (DVD and worksheets). With both the boys and girls together we cover changes during puberty (changes to both the male and female body, periods, hormones), where babies come from. With just the girls we cover periods in more detail, giving them an opportunity to ask any questions they might have. With all of these more in-depth sessions we tell parents beforehand, so that they know the types of discussions we will have in school. The parents are given the opportunity to watch the DVD before their children see it. Historically we have done these sessions to both year five and six on a two year basis, but this is currently being considered so that we make sure we are providing the right sessions at the right times for the children. There are years when it is appropriate to offer the period talk to the year four children as well, but with these sessions we always make sure we are covering the things they need to know but in a way that is accessible and appropriate for the children we have at that time.
Children are taught about the main physical and emotional changes of puberty for both girls and boys. They gain an understanding of why the changes at puberty happen at different rates and have strategies for managing these changes. They learn to deal positively with questions they have about puberty and know how to access reliable sources of information.
Occasionally questions related to sex education can arise in RE lessons, for example about marriage and bringing up children. These are dealt with sensitively and with reference to whichever religion we were studying as the question came up. It is always made clear when a religious belief is being discussed that not everyone believes the same thing and that different religions and cultures may have different beliefs and practices. During RE (as well as in all other situations) all questions are answered in a way that reflects our Christian and British values, valuing the opinion and beliefs of different people.