Friday, August 26, 2011

Swiss cheesed at sex-ed program

New educational materials include a "sex box" for older students

In May, the city of Basel, Switzerland, introduced a sexual education program to 30 elementary schools and kindergartens that includes a "sex box" with a fabric penis and fabric vagina (warning: link to story features pictures that some may find offensive).

The sex-ed package contains dolls, puzzles, books, and other educational material for 4 to 10-year-olds. There is also a box with more explicit materials for older students, according to the newspaper Blick.

The guide included with the kit instructs kindergarten teachers to "show that contacting body parts can be pleasurable." It also recommends having children massage each other or to rub themselves with warm sand bags, all accompanied by soft music.

"Children should be encouraged to develop and experience their sexuality in a pleasurable way," said Daniel Schneider, a deputy kindergarten rector for Basel who helped develop the sex-ed curriculum along with experts. "It's important that they learn to say no if they don't want to be touched in a certain area."

Gabi Huber of Switzerland's Free Democratic Party was shocked at the program. 

"Sex education in this form belongs and should stay in the hands of parents – and certainly not in kindergartens," she said and called on education authorities "not to tolerate instruction like this."

After protest from parents Christop Eymann, Basal's education minister, admitted that "sex box" was not an appropriate name (warning: link contains picture that some may find offensive), but stood by the concept.
“It was no doubt stupid to call it a 'sex box' – we will change that," he said. "But we will stick to our goal: to get across to children that sexuality is something natural. Without forcing anything upon them or taking anything away from their parents." 

Peter Alsop's song "My Body" (skip to 5:20) might be a more tame introduction to personal boundaries and "no" feelings for children.

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