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Education Matters

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/

What is sensory play and why is it important?

May 26th, 2015

By Val Johnstone

Sensory play is important because it is what kids naturally are drawn to.  When kids engage in messy sensory play, their senses are stimulated.  When their senses are stimulated, they are learning.  Kids learn best by doing.  Sensory play is completely child directed and it has no final product.  Sensory play encourages creativity and imagination.  

When children spend time engaged in sensory play, mixing and pouring, scooping and digging, they are indeed "playing" and having fun but these activities help them develop cognitively, physically, linguistically, socially, emotionally, creatively and physically.  By picking up a grain of rice or a bean from a bin, they are working on their fine motor skills, but they are also learning about shape and space of objects.  When they mix in a bin of goop (my favourite) or water they learn about density of liquids.  When objects in a sensory bin are different colours, shapes and sizes, their brains learn to distinguish between these things and as they sort out like objects they learn about sorting and classifying.  Things such as these are a part of the mathematical side of their brains and skills which we as parents and educators want kids to be learning from such an early age.

Sensory play allows children the freedom to explore using their creativity for endless possibilities.  One of the easiest and manageable ways to contain sensory play is in a sensory bin.

What is a sensory bin?

A sensory bin is a container which engages your senses. It can contain anything, most often textures which encourage creative play.  Items in a bin can be dry ingredients (rice, pasta, coffee, flour, beans) or wet (clean mud, goop, water beads).  Often there is a combination of ingredients which create an altogether new texture or material.

Sensory bins engage all your senses.  Textures can stimulate exploration with appeal to your feeling senses.  Colourful bins and the variety of colour appeal to children's visual sense.  When items such as beans and rice are scooped and played with they are audibly appealing.  Some bins because of the ingredients can have a scent and stimulate the sense of smell. 

Sensory bins encourage children to explore in different ways using different senses. Sensory play expands a child's experience and helps to develop their brain in new ways.  Sensory bins help children to become more creative.  They can pour and scoop, mix and get messy. 

While there is an incredible amount of fun and discovery that happens in sensory bin play, there is also a great deal of learning which can help develop skills such as:

 Fine motor skills (picking up objects)

  • Counting
  • Patterning
  • Sorting and Classifying
  • Matching
  • Transferring
  • Specific skill recognition

Children often find certain bins incredibly soothing and are drawn to some more than others.  Bins have been known to prevent meltdowns and can redirect energy in a positive way.  Pouring and scooping is not only entertaining for most little ones, it is also soothing.  Children who have a short attention span have been known to attend for an extraordinary amount of time playing in a sensory bin.

For those who may be hesitant to start but want to try sensory messy activities at home, here are a few tips:

  • Start small - create one bin at a time.  Rice or beans are an easy place to start.
  • Tell yourself that this kind of mess is okay.  Lay out a blanket on your kitchen floor and let them discover.
  • Use this creative sensory play as an opportunity to teach boundaries.  For example you can say to your kids, " I would like you to keep the rice in the bin. If a little spills out, that is okay.  If a lot spills out or you dump it out, I will have to put it away".  
  • Introduce sensory play on a day you know you will clean the floor.  If the weather is summer-like, take it outside.  Then there is not such a worry about things all over your floor.
  • Encourage your child to discover, play, imagine and create.  Try to find out which texture they most like; dry (such as beans, rice, popcorn kernels, coffee beans), goopy/messy (goop, clean mud, pudding), or wet (water, water beads, snow).
  • Get together with other friends and try a sensory playdate!

Val is a mom of two lovely young and active children. As a Special Education teacher for the last 16 years she has vast experience teaching children and encouraging them to explore their creative expression. She enjoys getting messy with kids immensely in all kinds of sensory and imaginative ways. It is a privilege for her to encourage others to find the creative spirit within themselves with her local business Born 2 Create. Check out the great camps they have coming up this summer here.  

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