Family Engagement in Puberty: The Wonder Years
Parental influence is one, and possibly the single greatest, of the major factors in determining the sexual behavior of young people. Therefore, Puberty: The Wonder Years includes many activities that promote family engagement, such as encouraging parents/caregivers to talk with their children about family values and guide their children toward behavior that is consistent with their beliefs and values. To engage parents, caregivers, and other family members, Puberty: The Wonder Years includes the following family engagement resources to be sent home to families. The family resources are available in English and Spanish.
- Family Notification Letter: Schools send home a letter that explains the puberty education program and notifies parents of their rights. An outline of the topics that will be taught each year and a permission form, if one is to be used, will be attached. A sample letter has been provided for schools to modify, personalize, and print on school stationery. Educators are encouraged to attach a curriculum outline to this letter. Keeping parents informed about the puberty lessons can help develop trust and support for the curriculum.
- Curriculum Outlines: An outline of the lessons and student learning objectives is available for each grade of Puberty: The Wonder Years. The outline(s) can be attached to the Family Notification Letter to let parents and other family members know what will be taught in puberty classes. Access the outlines here: Grade 4 English, Grade 4 Spanish; Grade 5 English, Grade 5 Spanish; and Grade 6 English, Grade 6 Spanish.
- Family Preview Meeting Invitation: Schools are encouraged to invite parents and other family members to attend a meeting at the school to learn about Puberty: The Wonder Years. This provides parents an opportunity to preview the media, review the curriculum, ask questions, and meet the school staff who will implement the lessons. A sample invitation has been provided.
- Permission: Offer parents the opportunity to excuse their children from any lessons they find objectionable. Meet with parents to discuss the reasons they are considering having their children excused. Often, with an opportunity to see the curriculum and talk more about the topics that will be offered, parents will reconsider. By respecting each parent’s right to decide what is appropriate for his or her child, you are also maintaining the integrity of the curriculum that was selected by the school district as being most suitable for your community. A sample exclusion or “opt out” form has been provided.
- Family Partnership Fliers: These informational fliers describe the topics covered in the lessons, such as puberty, hygiene, and communication, to equip parents and other trusted adults for conversations with their children. They provide parents with information and helpful tips for maintaining a positive relationship with their children during puberty. The Family Partnership Fliers are also provided in Spanish.
- Family Activity Sheets: Homework assignments encourage the students to discuss issues related to puberty and sexual behavior with their families. If a parent is not available for these assignments, students are asked to identify another trusted adult with whom they can talk. Families have been grateful for this tool for triggering family discussions. The Family Activity Sheets are also provided in Spanish.
- Student Activity Sheets: Some of the classroom activities utilize activity sheets. When the students take their activity sheets home, they may be helpful as discussion starters.
- Home Discussions: During the lessons, some issues or topics that are not approved for classroom discussions may arise. At times like these, the students are encouraged to ask their families for help in clarifying the topic.
Reading Resources for Family Time
- “Books for Parents and Children” to read together and discuss
- “Puberty Books for Boys and Girls” provides a list of options for parents and other trusted adults to choose from for the young people in their lives.
- “Puberty Books in English and Spanish” provides a list of books that are available in both languages.
“Thank you for teaching these classes! The homework caused us to talk about something we haven’t known how to begin. We had a great conversation at the dinner table.” ~anonymous parent~