Thursday, February 6, 2020

Talking with Young Children About Sexuality - Feb. 2, 2020

Bodies are Amazing!  Talking with Young Children about Sexuality
Sun. Feb. 2, 2020 ~ Unitarian Church of Montpelier
Led by Mara Iverson and Liza Earle-Centers 

It was a really nice circle of parents, Lifespan Spiritual Exploration volunteers, educators, and caring adults who gathered for our discussion last Sunday. This discussion was inspired as an alternative to a full 8 session K/1st OWL class, which can have challenging attendance requirements and is currently only available in an outdated version from 1999.  We have invested in a UCM lending library to accompany parents and educators on this journey, and it can be found in the vestry under the LSE bulletin board. We'll have a follow-up session sometime in April.

Mara Iverson, OWL instructor and Director of Education for Outright VT shared her expertise and knowledge, along with humor and compassion. Thank you, Mara! We'll remember that no matter what words we share with the young people in our lives, values are "caught, not taught" and so we better be living out our beliefs in the ways we interact in our daily lives with our families and with others. I talked about the idea of 'radical inclusivity' and always speaking or acting as if all different identities are present in a given room and to think of using as inclusive language and activities as possible. Below is a summary of the goals of this session--drawn largely on the original K-1st OWL curriculum.

Thank you to Mara for the great co-facilitation, and Meredith and Liz for help with set-up and clean-up.



  1. To encourage parents/caregivers/educators to model positive attitudes around our bodies and sexuality
  2. To empower parents/caregivers/educators to have healthy and open communication about our bodies, families, gender, consent, etc.  
  3. To strengthen the role of parents or caregivers as their children’s most important sexuality educators. 
Important elements of sexuality education at this age level:

  • To strengthen and support each child’s sense of self and self-esteem.
  • To help children understand the place of sexuality in human life and loving.  
  • To help children recognize and appreciate their bodies as good and beautiful, private and special.
  • To help children gain understanding and accurate information about human sexuality, reproduction, and gender 
  • To help children prepare for the normal changes they will experience as they grow and develop.
  • To help children develop interpersonal skills that will keep them safe and healthy.
  • To help children learn to make decisions that respect themselves and others and that anticipate possible consequences. 

Session List for K-1st Our Whole Lives
(With expansions and recommendations from us added in)

Books/resources to support
(some great ones in our LSE library)
Session 1: Our Wonderful Bodies, Part One (Useful for all sessions on the list)
Session 2: Our Wonderful Bodies, Part Two

Session 3: Healthy Bodies, Safe Bodies

Session 4: Families

Session 5: Families and Feelings

Session 6: Babies and Families

Session 7: Birth of a Baby

Resources for your own background knowledge: 

Gonads Podcast from NPR

Teaching Consent to Kids (3 min. Video--uses gender binary language, but still helpful)
4 Ways Parents Teach Kids that Consent Doesn’t Matter (common parenting practices to avoid)

Family Inclusive Language graphic (click the magnifying glass icon to enlarge)

Gender Unicorn by TERS (Trans Student Educational Resources)

Transgender and Non-Binary Children: Books to Help Adults Understand

Conjugating ‘they’ as a singular pronoun

Resources to share with your children / students: Jr. (videos on many body and sex topics designed for ages 4-9)
Consent for Kids (3 mins. video great for very young children) 
Consent and Communication (2 min. video with humor)

Great Diverse Children's Books with Transgender, Non-Binary and Gender Expansive Children

Some of the books in our lending library:

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