First Training on the New Puberty: The Wonder Years Completed!

40 Educators Are Ready to Teach! On May 1, 2015, Genesee Intermediate School District hosted the inaugural professional development event on the 2015 Puberty: The Wonder Years curriculum. Dorothy Oppenheiser, Regional School Health Coordinator, invited teachers from three counties to attend and was the consummate host of this training. I learned a lot from the teachers who attended, and received valuable input from them about the curriculum and their students’ needs. The teachers were enthusiastic about the new lessons and teaching resources, and…

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Sex Education Maelstrom

Recent news events have illustrated the need for sex education that begins early; incorporates effective strategies and accurate information; and supports parents, teachers, and schools in their efforts to educate children and youth in a manner that equips them for life. How to do so is the challenge. The highly publicized live-tweet that narrated a sex education class has exposed a clash of values. The observed instruction was based on fear tactics, misinformation, and a one-sided representation of sexual relationships.…

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Home-School Partnership Is Key

Parents and other family members are children’s primary sex educators. From birth, family members have been communicating, both verbally and nonverbally, messages about sexuality. Children have acquired attitudes and behaviors without consciously knowing that they have been learning about puberty and sexuality. These messages come from the way parents dress their children, the toys given to children, the way children are touched and spoken to, and the sex roles family members fill. The school can help students understand and honor…

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What Makes Curriculum Effective?

Effective sexuality education programs prevent or reduce risky sexual behaviors by helping young people postpone sexual intercourse and increasing the use of risk reduction methods in those who are sexually active. Research has shown that such programs have the following 17 characteristics. The first set of characteristics is found in the process of developing the curriculum: 1.  Involved multiple people with expertise in theory, research, and sex and STD/HIV education to develop the curriculum. 2.  Assess relevant needs and assets…

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Why Teach Puberty At All

Doesn’t teaching puberty invite promiscuous activity among kids? Why should my child be exposed to this? Sexuality education, even puberty education, is sometimes viewed as a controversial, divisive topic because it can provoke strong, divergent opinions about the best way to teach the subject, or whether it should be taught at all. Educators may fear that conflict with parents or community groups might spread to other educational programs. However, avoiding sexuality education altogether is likely to produce even more disastrous…

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How Can We Know If Sex Education Works?

How can we know if sex education works? As in any academic subject, sexuality education is most effective when it is taught in a sequential, age-appropriate manner, beginning when students are young and continuing through the twelfth grade. Lessons will include some intentional repetition of topics. Due to the wide range of developmental stages among adolescents, some students may be interested and ready to learn about puberty and sexuality earlier than others. In addition, repetition is good reinforcement for past…

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What educators are saying

“My students had lots of questions! They thanked me for being willing to teach them about what is happening to them.”



Mike B., Lansing School District

“Puberty: The Wonder Years doesn’t just stick to puberty. The curriculum also includes lessons on topics that I think are necessary, such as bullying and social-emotional components. There’s also a lot of scripting for really good conversation and prompts for the teachers.”

Tim Kordic, Project Advisor for Sexual Health & HIV Prevention, Los Angeles Unified School District

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Health Coordinator of the Year

Health Educator of the Year

Wendy receives her award from the American School Health Association