Is Kindergarten Too Young for Sex Ed?

“Kids these days are so much smarter than we were.”

We hear people say that all the time. They’re savvy with technology. They read at a younger age. They do math problems at a younger age. They seem to know everything.

But, when it comes to sex education, how much should they learn, let’s say in Kindergarten? Should they be learning anything at all at that age? It’s a touchy subject to say the least.

Here in the U.S., each state has its own rules about what and when certain aspects of sex education are taught. In some states, parents have the choice to take their kids out of these lessons for religious or personal reasons.

But, if you look at other countries, like the Netherlands, Kindergarten-aged children are learning about sexuality and all the feelings that go along with it. In fact they are calling it “sexuality education” rather than sex education. They are teaching about love and relationships and how to deal with all of that in the right way. They are not treating sexuality like it is a taboo subject or something to be ashamed of.

I know a lot of parents who read about what the Netherlands is doing may cringe. But, you may change your mind after you see that country’s stats. Children in the Netherlands have sex at a later age. The Netherlands also has one of the lowest teen pregnancy rates. Compare that to the U.S. where nearly half of high school students say they have had sex. Although it has dropped, the U.S. also has the highest teen birth rate among industrialized nations. Some may ask, are we the ones doing something wrong?

As the mother of a Kindergartner and Pre-Kindergartener, I have to admit, the thought of my girls learning all about sex and everything that it entails does make me squirm a little. I think the main reason is because as a parent you always want to protect your children’s innocence. But, the idea of them learning about love and relationships and how to deal with all of it is a good thing. I think kids don’t often know what to do with their feelings, which in turn can lead to other problems as they get older. If they can sort it out earlier, it may help them (and us) in the long run.

Sexuality is not a bad thing. It’s real life. While we may think Kindergarten is a bit young to be learning about it, isn’t it better than learning it from television or friends? As parents, I think that’s what we need to be more scared about. I also think we need to take more of an active role in teaching our kids and not leaving it all up to the school system. Many lessons about sexuality should start at home. But, when it comes to schools, The Netherlands may be on to something with the lessons it is teaching.

Do you think Kindergarten is too young for sexuality lessons? What age do you think is appropriate?