International guidelines on sexuality education and their relevance to a contemporary curriculum for children aged 5–8 years
This paper evaluates UNESCO's recommended sexuality educational framework for junior school students aged 5-8 years. It also compares it to an existing state-designed Health and Physical Education curriculum that includes sexual and reproductive health for the same cohort. Based on the universal values of respect and human rights, UNESCO's International Technical Guidance (2009) promotes clear, comprehensive, and evidence-informed sexuality education in the compulsory school years, for all countries. Aimed at education and health decision-makers, the framework addresses knowledge, values and discussion of often-stifled issues that are appropriate for healthy child development, and necessary to counter children's vulnerability to abuse, exploitation and sexually transmitted infections. Most importantly, it emphasises that children are not ready for sexual contact with other people. The results of this paper's evaluation show that the Guidance offers timely, definitive, wide-ranging, inclusive and effective sexuality education for children who are usually left "to find their own way". The comparative results show that the sampled Australian curriculum is woefully inadequate for the task of teaching puberty, sexuality and reproductive health and safety education.
Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development