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Is 5 too young for sex education?
OPINION: I remember clearly the day JFK was shot because I was the first in the family to hear of it, having overheard the shocking news on a radio news bulletin.
Full of the kind of self-importance that comes when a small child knows something that others don't, I proudly announced the tragic news to my parents who looked at each other and rolled their eyes before admonishing me for making things up.
Shortly afterwards when my brother confirmed that indeed the American president had been assassinated, I was deeply miffed that a sibling's word would be taken over mine and waited in vain for a parental apology.
I was remembering this while wondering what year 1 and year 2 children would make of being told the cold or hot hard facts of life.
Five North Island schools are now bravely rolling out a sex education policy apparently tailor-made to be absorbed by ankle-biters as young as 5 years old.
In a TV news item, teacher and sexuality educator Kathryn Heape beamingly told a reporter about the policy and how they: "Talk about how the baby grows in the uterus, and talk about how it's the penis' job to deliver the sperm to the egg through the vagina".
Good grief, if that isn't hard enough to comprehend for a 5-year-old, the notion that the penis actually has a job to perform, to, as it were, put on a suit and tie and march off to work to impregnate an eagerly awaiting egg, is both grand and comic.
The children are also shown what a condom looks like, which infers the nippers are also told that the penis' job of impregnating an egg is completely redundant most of the time, that the penis is for most of its life a work-shy ergophobe who goes to extraordinary lengths to shirk the job description of a sperm egg collision while still enjoying the fringe benefits of horsing around in the happy hunting grounds of the vagina.
Why a child of such a very young age has to become acquainted with a condom beats me. I tend to agree with the sobbing mother also interviewed in the same TV item who, along with other parents at her children's school, successfully campaigned against the policy's introduction. The notion of protection with a capital P seems to have been hijacked by earnest sex educators trying to prevent worst-case scenarios at the cost of a childhood, which by its definition should be allowed a period of grace before signs of biology kick in.
I strongly suspect the story of reproduction and explanation of sexual activity would go way over most small children's heads.
They would be like the judge in a trial who once told the famous orator F E Smith: "I have listened to you for over an hour and I'm none the wiser".
To which Smith condescendingly replied: "None the wiser, perhaps my Lord, but certainly better informed."
- © Fairfax NZ News