Tullamore Educate Together N.S. School Policy on Relationships and Sexuality Education
What is Relationships and Sexuality Education (R.S.E.)?
R.S.E. guides/leads the child in an informative and dignified manner to an understanding of his/her sexuality – the process of growth, change and human reproduction. It fosters healthy relationships and promotes respect for self and others. It equips the child with the language to express himself/herself in an appropriate and respectful manner.
Relationship of the R.S.E. programme within the overall curriculum.
R.S.E. will be taught under the umbrella of Social, Personal and Health Education, (S.P.H.E.) Sexual education pertains specifically to the strand Myself, strand unit Growing and Changing – as I grow I change, birth and new Life. Relationships education pertains to the strand Myself and Others. There will also be links between R.S.E. and other curriculum areas such as Social, Environmental and Scientific Education (S.E.S.E.) and the E.C. Programme.
The aims of R.S.E. are: an understanding of, and a healthy attitude to, human sexuality and relationships in a moral, spiritual and social framework.
- To enhance the personal development, self-esteem and well-being of the child
- To help the child to develop healthy friendships and relationships
- To foster enable the child to acquire an understanding of, and respect for, human love, sexual intercourse and reproduction.
- To develop and promote in the child a sense of wonder and awe at the process of birth and new life.
- To enable the child to be comfortable with his/her own sexuality and that of others while growing and developing.
When due account is taken of intrinsic abilities and varying circumstances the Relationship and Sexuality education curriculum should enable the child to:
- Acquire and develop knowledge and understanding of self.
- Develop a positive sense of self-awareness, self-esteem and self-worth.
- Develop an appreciation of the dignity, uniqueness and well being of others.
- Understand the nature, growth and development of relationships within families, in friendships and in wider contexts.
- Develop an awareness of differing family patterns.
- Come to value family life and appreciate the responsibilities of parenthood
- Develop strategies to make decisions, solve problems, and implement actions in various personal, social and health contexts.
- Become aware of the variety of ways in which individuals grow and change and understand that their developing sexuality is an important aspect of self-identity.
- Develop some coping strategies to protect self and others from various forms of abuse.
- Acquire and improve skills of communication and social interaction.
- Acquire and use an appropriate vocabulary to discuss feelings, sexuality, growth and development.
- Develop a critical understanding of external influences on lifestyles and decision-making.
Relationships and Sexuality Ed. 1996
Genuine, open, respectful attitude by teacher
- Respect for self and others will be central at all times.
- Language to communicate confidently about them-selves, their relationships and their sexuality will be developed.
- Positive, healthy attitudes will be fostered.
- Information will be clear and unambiguous.
- A spiral approach to content will be used
– drama activities
– co-operative games
– pictures, photos, visual images
– viewing and discussing videos
– hosting visitors
– story and poetry
- Teacher input will be complementary to the role of parents.
Supportive, non-threatening classroom atmosphere
Specific Content Details – Sexual Education
Junior and Senior Infants
Name parts of the male and female body using appropriate anatomical terms
- penis in context of passing urine
- urethra in context of passing urine
Awareness of human birth – a baby grows inside the mother’s womb until ready to be born.
First and Second Class
Name parts of the male and female body using appropriate anatomical terms and identifying some of their functions.
- -penis – passing urine
- –urethra – passing urine
- –vagina– opening where a baby leaves a mother’s womb
- -breasts – for feeding a baby
- –navel/bellybutton – where a baby was joined to its mother before birth.
Third and Fourth Class
Understand the physical changes taking place in both the male and female body. Realising that these changes do not occur at the same time but nonetheless are predictable and natural and that being different is normal.
- -growing in height, weight & strength
- -growing from boy to man and girl to woman
- -accepting own body shape/size/rate of development
- onset of menstruation (periods) for Fourth Class girls only
The stages and sequence of foetal development from conception to birth.
- -identifying objects which coincide with the size of the foetus at different stages
- – changes in foetus – development of limbs, more recognisable shape
- -baby emerges from womb through vagina when ready after 9 months.
Fifth and Sixth Class
Identify and discuss the physical and other changes that occur in boys and girls with the onset of puberty and understand that these changes take place at different rates for everyone.
- female: hormonal changes, changing body shape, development of breasts, appearance of underarm and pubic hair.
- male: hormonal changes, oily skin, spots physical growth, enlargement of testicles and penis, appearance of underarm, pubic and facial hair, breaking of voice, beginning of sperm production, involuntary erections, nocturnal emissions (wet dreams).
The reproductive system of male & female adults
- male reproductive organs – penis, scrotum, sperm, sperm tube, testis
- female reproductive system – vagina, cervix, uterus, ovary, fallopian tubes, ovum (egg)
Sexual intercourse, conception and birth
The penis penetrates the vagina when erect. Sperm is ejaculated. A sperm penetrates an egg inside the female and so fertilises the egg. The egg splits in 2 and then in 4 and so on. Foetal development begins as covered previously. After @ nine months when the baby is ready the womb muscles begin to contract and start pushing the baby out. When the baby is born the umbilical cord is cut and it is not needed. The baby begins life outside the womb.
Guidelines for the management and organistation of R.S.E.
- The R.S.E. programme will be taught in harmony with and in support of the school ethos.
- Parents/Guardians will be informed beforehand of lessons dealing with sensitive issues and will be encouraged to discuss the content of such lessons with the class teacher where queries arise and with their own children in support of the lesson.
- Certain sensitive areas will be gender specific and will be dealt with in a single gender setting before being dealt with in a whole class setting.
- The teacher will only teach the specified curriculum content for each class. If children raise issues not covered in the curriculum, teachers will defer/postpone discussion on such issues to allow for consultation with the Principal Teacher and/or the teacher with curriculum responsibility for R.S.E. The school will use its discretion as to when the issue will be dealt with or not at all. In all instances, the child will be encouraged to talk to his/her Parents/Guardians.
- All teaching aids and resources will be viewed by teachers prior to classroom use. All such resources will be available to parents/guardians to view.
- Any visitors/speakers/presenters from outside the school will be approved by the Board of management. They will be made aware of the school R.S.E. policy and will only speak within its parameters. A teacher will be present at all times during such talks/presentations.