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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/

Giving Kids the Edge: The Valuable Skill of “Debating”

May 1st, 2016

By Nick Szymanis

Have you ever asked your child after school, “What did you learn today?” and they reply with, “I don’t know.” In your mind you hope they are just saying “I don’t know” because they don’t feel like talking. But in reality, this “I don’t know” is real and much of what children learn at school is not being retained. 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 per cent of what they hear, 10 per cent of what they read, 20 per cent of what they see, and 30 per cent of what they see demonstrated by another person.  The questions remains:  What about the other 70 per cent?

As a teacher of 18 years, at some of Canada’s best schools, I still find myself stepping back from the school day and questioning “where is the learning here?” How can teaching professionals make learning meaningful and have what children learn “stick”?  In many cases, students default to the age-old habits of hard work and well-developed study habits. The ultimate goal for most students in Canada is admission to a good university and hopefully the sound preparation for a successful career.  Education systems are built to facilitate this journey and inside the schools, teachers aim to keep the learning meaningful and rigorous.

But does this always work?

Good teachers generally check their classes, for understanding and retention, often with tests or exams. We assume, that as students advance successfully to the next level, they have learned something.  But what if we are wrong?

Feedback from the universities themselves asks the same question.  We at the secondary school level track our graduates as far as second and third year university – just to ensure we are doing our job well.  A common lament among the universities we poll is that a number of undergraduates lack a true foundation. In sum, there is a feeling in the universities that many students have advanced by figuring out how to earn good marks, but when truly tested in either the university seminar group, tutorial, or when the level of their analytical skills are put to the test in writing, students are falling short.

I believe Canada’s best teachers are constantly striving to ensure they do not produce graduates who have mimicked knowledge and “played the system” for marks, but who have actually “learned” and / or knowledgeable. The answer is not in harder exams, but in the design of a learning experience that demands students to apply their knowledge; to engage their learning at several points in the school day – not simply at the end of a term.

In Ancient Greek times this used to be in the form of a Socratic dialogue, where students at the Academy would be questioned constantly in a kind of academic sparring with the teacher – this was seen to sharpen the students’ minds. This ancient method of learning still appears in the modern classroom in such forms as the inquiry approach or Harkness table discussion / dialogue.

But after 18 years in the system and seeing my graduates in most cases, thrive in university, I remain convinced that one of the most rigorous and exciting ways to have students apply their learning is debating. To bring traditional debate into the lives of young people stands to provide an intensified learning experience – one kids always remember - - and here’s why:

Debating asks student to take a side – whether they believe in it or not.  Immediately, they need to suspend their subjective worldview and learn to construct a case or argument in favour (or against) a topic. They need to access their learning - - with purpose. They have to learn how to organize and prioritize information, align it with a greater point, and ultimately make their learning make sense to an audience.

Perhaps best of all, debating honours knowledge itself because it is a 2 way street:  Too often in education, students are acquiring knowledge and then putting it back on the page. In debating, students must not only present their side, but they must listen effectively to their opponent’s points. This honours the true aspect of knowledge itself - - that the further we develop an understanding of something, the deeper we probe the depths of an argument by accessing all of it’s possible sides, the closer we get to real knowledge - - something philosophers call “the truth” of a subject.  In real educational forums, it is clear this level of learning is not achieved easily, and not achieved by simply taking in knowledge from one source.  Debating engages students, right from the beginning, asking them to delve into the opposing views and honour what is being said by countering it well.  A sharpening of the mind indeed…

From Ancient Greek times till today, debating stands to be among the richest, most rewarding intellectual exercises young people can participate in. The universities also recognize it, with accomplished high school debaters being among the most sought after by leading universities - - largely because they have stood out against their peers in the university setting demonstrating their educational foundation is well-built.  Moreover, as I stand inside schools and listen to my students, I remain convinced that debating, is one of those activities that guarantees learning is happening, and happening well.

According to the Learning Pyramid, students retain 50 per cent of what they learn if they can engage it in discussion, 75 per cent of it if they can practice in some form and 90 per cent if given the opportunity to teach it to others!  So next time you pick up from school, and ask that very general question “what did you learn today? – don’t take “nothing” for an answer.  Ask instead; “Any interesting conversations today?”  See what they say – and then follow with, “So what do YOU think about that?” Prepare for an opposing view - - and then enjoy the debate!  Ultimately, you are setting up a forum for your young learner to teach you! Believe it or not, you are helping the learning “stick” and perhaps even become more meaningful along the way…

Nick Szymanis has been teaching for 18 years, as well as having been Head of Social Studies at both Crofton House School in Vancouver, and Havergal College in Toronto, as well the past 4 years as Academic Director at The Sterling Hall School in Toronto.  He is the founder and lead director of Debate Camp Canada, a summer training program in public speaking and debate for students in grades 5 – 11.  In 2016, he and his team will facilitate 15 camps across Canada, serving 808 lucky students.  For more information visit: www.debatecamp.org

Debate Camp Canada comes to Edmonton for the first time this summer!

Day Camp: July 11-15th, suiting grades 6 through 11.

+ they offer an overnight camp in BC July 10-16 suiting grades 6 through 11.

Visit www.debatecamp.org/edmonton for details on these great camps.

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