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Teaching Sexual Health - Birth to 6 year olds

As a parent, you know that understanding your child and their development is one of the most important things you can learn. Follow the links provided to find information about all the developmental milestones- physical, sexual, emotional, cognitive and social- from birth up to 18 years of age. This includes the key topics or ideas your child should know at different ages, and how you can help them with that learning, at every age.

Birth to 2 Years

Understanding Your Child’s Development

Welcome to the world of parenting! Your child will go through many changes in just a couple of years. Your child’s development will follow a pattern. As babies grows, they’re able to do more—recognize people, hold things, sit up, crawl, stand and eventually walk. As they become a toddler, they will have constant energy and  strong feelings. They will also start to question everything around them. Learning about your child at this age will help you to understand their development. Read more about what your child’s going through in this stage of development.

What Your Child Needs Your Help to Learn

In these early years, your child will need your help to understand their emotions and their bodies. Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Teach your child that their body is private.
  • Use the correct names for body parts including genitals and reproductive organs: penis, testicles, scrotum, anus, vulva, labia, vagina, clitoris, uterus and ovaries (Knowing the correct names for body parts promotes positive body image, self-confidence, and parent-child communication. It also gives children the language they need to tell a trusted adult if sexual abuse has happened).
  • Make sure your child is able to play with other children their own age often. Your child might not get along with others right away—they’ll learn this with time, practice and the help of you and others. Being able to play with other children will help them to form healthy relationships as they grow older.
  • Help your child understand how gender can be expressed differently. A person’s gender identity may be the same as or different as their biological sex.

For more information about teaching sexual health to your children up to two years, visit:https://teachingsexualhealth.ca/parents/information-by-age/birth-to-2-years/

 

3 and 4 Year Olds

Understanding Your Child’s Development

This is the thinking stage. As children enter their preschool years, they know what they like and don’t like. Their emotions tend to be more stable and predictable. Your child’s picking up on what you say and do. Read more about what your child is going through in this stage.

 

What Your Child Needs Your Help to Learn

Children at this age are the easiest to teach, as they are very curious and take in everything they see and hear. Your child will use their imagination to make up their own story if they ’don’t understand the explanation they may have been given. Be ready to answer to their questions again and again, as preschoolers don’t always understand the first time.

If you don’t talk about sexuality, it teaches your child that sexuality is something they shouldn’t talk to you about. To give them the facts about their body parts, what they’re used for and how babies are made, see Reproduction and Pregnancy. 

 

There are some great ways to support healthy sexuality and development. At this stage, children should know:

  • That their body is their own and no one can touch it without their permission—the difference between “good touch” and “bad touch”. This may help children to be more likely to tell a trusted adult if someone is touching them in a way they shouldn’t.
  • The correct names for body parts including genitals and reproductive organs: penis, testicles, scrotum, anus, vulva, labia, vagina, clitoris, uterus and ovaries (Knowing the correct names for body parts promotes positive body image, self-confidence, and parent-child communication. It also gives children the language they need to tell a trusted adult if sexual abuse has happened).
  • How reproduction happens. For example, you could say, “When a sperm joins an egg, a baby grows in the uterus, and is born through the vagina.”
  • Not to pick up things such as used condoms or syringes. Now is a good time to teach them not to pick up anything if they don’t know what it is or if they think it’s dangerous.

For more information about teaching your 3-4 year old about sexual health, visit: https://teachingsexualhealth.ca/parents/information-by-age/3-and-4-year-olds/

 

5 and 6 Year Olds

Understanding Your Child’s Development

Your child is starting to form their own identity and their understanding of how they fit into the world. Talking about sexual health and sexuality together now will help to start the conversation and keep it going as your child gets older. Read more about what your child is going through in this stage.

What Your Child Needs Your Help to Learn

Your child will likely understand more about body parts and what they do, but still may not know all the facts. For example, at this age children often think that girls have one opening for urine and feces, and that what girls eat goes into the same place as the baby grows. It helps to use simple and clear explanations for your child—make sure to give the facts and use the correct terms.

If you don’t talk about sexuality, it teaches your child that sexuality is something they shouldn’t talk about with you. They’re more likely to talk to and believe any story they hear from others. Give them the facts about their body parts, what they’re used for and how babies are made.

There are some great ways to encourage healthy sexuality and development. At this stage, children should know:

  • That their body is their own and no one can touch it without their permission—the difference between “good touch” and “bad touch”. This may help children to be more likely to tell a trusted adult if someone is touching them in a way they shouldn’t.
  • The correct names for body parts including genitals and reproductive organs: penis, testicles, scrotum, anus, vulva, labia, vagina, clitoris, uterus and ovaries (Knowing the correct names for body parts promotes positive body image, self-confidence, and parent-child communication. It also gives children the language they need to tell a trusted adult if sexual abuse has happened).
  • Other body parts and body functions: urine, stool, bladder and urethra.
  • How reproduction happens. For example, you could say, “When a sperm joins an egg, a baby grows in the uterus, and is born through the vagina.”
  • Basic information about body changes during puberty.
  • Not to pick up things such as used condoms or syringes. Now is a good time to teach them not to pick up anything if they don’t know what it is or if they think it’s dangerous.

For more information about teaching your 5-6 year old about sexual health, visit: https://teachingsexualhealth.ca/parents/information-by-age/5-and-6-year-olds/

 

 

Top 5 Ways to Cheer Up the Lonely Days - Edmonton Public Library

Written by Hilary Kirkpatrick, EPL Outreach Worker

As a social worker for the Edmonton Public Library, I know the importance of community building and making connections for those who are feeling lonely. Having a supportive network of people and meaningful connections can give us the boost we need to feel better about ourselves and have a positive outlook on life. At EPL, there are programs specifically designed to meet the needs and interests of all EPL customers, which help bring people in the community together.

Here are the top 5 ways to utilize your local library to help alleviate loneliness:

1.     EPL Book Clubs – Book clubs offer a space where you can meet new people with similar interests (hello, fellow avid readers!) and discuss the means and motives of your favourite literary characters. Friendships are sure to blossom over a cup of tea and a wonderful book! 

2.       Baby Lap Time and Sing, Sign, Laugh and Learn Programs – New parents are at times isolated by the needs of their new little family member, and early literacy programs can provide the opportunity to make a connection for parents while babies learn through play, song and story. These interactive, free, drop-in programs are a great opportunity to connect with other new parents and give your little one a head-start.

3.       Makerspace Programs – Did you know that expressing yourself creatively in a way that is meaningful to you can help you combat loneliness? EPL Makerspace programs offers sound-booths to record a song, binding and printing services for your writing, or the opportunity to create a mini-movie with the green screen! Make friends and enjoy a fun project all at the same time!

4.       Adult Programs – Find ways to socialize based on what interest you such as learning a new hobby at the library: sewing class, adult colouring, film series, traditional arts and crafts, and more! Hobbies are a great way to meet new people, and to help yourself get out of the house. If you are feeling left out of the community because of a language barrier, EPL can help you improve your English conversations skills. We host conversation circles for English language learners that are set at your pace.

5.       Assistive Services - If you are experiencing a significant barrier or are physically unable to leave your home or a have disability, EPL provides home service where you live, whether that's an extended care facility, a seniors' lodge or your own home. We also offer specialized computers and assistive technology. If you are far away from family across the world, EPL staff can show you how to use email and Skype with your far away family members!

With EPL, connection is always possible. Let’s work together to combat loneliness and connect with our community and loved ones. A step towards visiting your local public library is a step towards ending loneliness! https://www.epl.ca/

What Teens Can Do To Keep Busy This Summer

by Bronwyn Hartman - Edmonton Public Library

 

1. Make something great: Our Makerspace has everything teens need for their next creation, including 3D printers, sound booths, a vinyl cutter and more. Encourage teens to drop by the library and get creative!

2. Find the next great read: Teens can check out our Staff Picks, talk to staff for recommendations, access eBooks and magazines through our digital collection, or just come and browse our teen section. They can also participate in one of our Summer Starts Here events happening at branches throughout the city.

3. Get in the game: Teens have a love for gaming and can join us for our many gaming programs: Minecraft, retro gaming and even old-school board games!

4. Learn something new: Our non-fiction collection and online resources have everything teens need to learn something new - from a new language, to photo editing, to digital design and more.

5. Come and hang out: On hot summer days the library is an even a cooler place to hang out! With study spaces, meeting rooms, computers and more, teens can come and lounge in an air conditioned space with us at any of our branches.

Be in the know with EPL! Sign up for EPL eNewsletter to learn more about programs and events for teens and the whole family!

 

For more information about Edmonton Public Library and their awesome programs, visit: https://www.epl.ca/blogs/post/what-teens-can-do-to-keep-busy-this-summer/

A Return to Debating: Skills for Our Collective Future

April 22nd, 2016

By Nick Szymanis 

We live in a world where digital connection has become the norm.  Young people in particular are constantly connected to their peers almost always via the digital portal of social media.  It has become a world of hand-held interactivity – mostly social, some of it meant to stir further online conversation or even “followers”.  Students interact almost constantly by quickly reading and replying, by blogging as young experts, or re-posting articles and pictures that solicit a “like” or a reply, often just as truncated.  It is a highly interactive world, with a buzz of information available at any one time - - all of it accessible while walking, or waiting for the bus to school.

Every generation has always lamented something of a missing skill set in the generation coming up.  We have forever, as a society, worried about the future at the hands of of our off-spring and their friends.  So, it is no surprise that most western world educators are starting to check the over-use of technology with something of a more interactive nature for students, perhaps out of the fear that they will be ill-suited to deal with the world’s problems from behind the screen exclusively.

Classrooms where students must come together, are now emphasizing collaborative conferencing, cooperative learning, dialogue-centred teaching, all in attempt to restore the meaning in education.  It may well be one of the reasons students still relish the task of attending school – when thanks to online courses, or the Khan Academy, or even You Tube to some degree, we could keep learning - - while waiting for the bus, perhaps not ever making it to school (because they missed the stop…) Instead, there is no shortage of enthusiasm for learning in the live company of other students – because that is where the true meaning in education lives.  It is in this equation that the age old learning medium of “debating” lives, and is now becoming even more popular than ever…

Educational research of the last 10 years has advocated a set of declining percentages for just how much students remember from year to year.  The model is called the “Learning Pyramid” and it is widely accepted that students retain 5% of what they hear, 10% of what they read, 20% of what they see, and 30% of what they see demonstrated by another person.  However, students retain knowledge in 50% of instances where they can discuss information with another student, 75% when they can combine learning with the practice of it – i.e. doing something with their knowledge and students retain 90% of what they learned if given the opportunity to teach to someone else… Herein also lies the magic behind the resurgence of debating as a valuable learning activity.

For many parents, debating is seems to be that what comes out of the mouths of pre-teens and fully formed adolescents on the point of whatever is put before them.  Others might simply call this protest…  Debating is more than just protest, argument - - or structured protest.  Parents might think their child is a perfectly formed “debater”… and be quite content with their i-pad fixation.  Instead, debating has a lot more to offer.  It is very much about allowing students to first master their knowledge of something – a case, an issue in the wider world that has 2 or more available perspectives.  This is called the resolution.  Students then come together in groups of two, paired as team on either the government or opposition side of the resolution and in a sequence of times speeches, present their side, rebut the views of their opponents and in some debate styles – field and answer questions.  All of this is done with a sense of diplomacy, tact and an emphasis on listening to one’s opponents in order to rebut their points effectively - - and not simply “argue” from a preconceived point of view.  In essence they are made the all-convincing ‘teacher’ of their subject - - thereby reinforcing and retaining what they know to the highest degree available in the learning process.

And so what exactly does this do for our future?  Young people who can come together and intellectually clash, out in the open (not just behind their screens) on topics to do with justice, or international conflicts, or the ethics of certain industrial practices, or the changing global balance of power, or about changing laws, or improving systems of healthcare, or even education… These are the young people we leave our future world in the hands of.  And admittedly, it is a future that needs active thinkers, listeners, and very much so – debaters!  These are the life-skills worth cultivating and although not all is lost on the present fixation with digital media, at lease we can create a valuable counter-medium that allows students to come face to face and engage their thinking and make meaning of it and perhaps most importantly, remember and retain what they have learned 90% of the time…

The other 10%, well back to i-pad I guess…

Nick Szymanis is the Director of Academics at The Sterling Hall School, and independent school for boys in Toronto.  He is also the Founder and Director of Debate Camp Canada, a summer training program in Public Speaking and Debating that operates in Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax each summer.  His articles on education have appeared in Independent School periodicals such as Dialogue Magazine in 2006 and 2009 and The Globe and Mail in 2011.

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