Below is a sample of lessons and activities from our Puberty Talk curriculum (visit our Table of Contents for a complete list of topics covered). Lessons have been developed based on best practices in adolescent health, state/federal guidance, the California Healthy Youth Act, and feedback from students, parents, and teachers.
Puberty Talk was directly born out of one Bay Area school district's desire to ensure their students felt more prepared, educated and supported as they navigated the physical and emotional changes that typically accompany early adolescence. Teachers and nurses collaborated with Health Connected to develop an age-appropriate curriculum that is engaging, yet adaptable, to stay relevant to the needs of 5th and 6th graders.
The 5-hour Puberty Talk course typically takes place over the course of 1 week and focuses on the multitude of changes that occur during puberty. This includes an introduction to reproductive processes; emotional, mental and physical development; and building communication skills delivered in a medically accurate and age-appropriate way. Pregnancy prevention methods are not discussed in this course. Reference to "sex" may be briefly made to describe one method of human reproduction.
Trusted Adult Communication: "Ask your Adults"
Youth who communicate with their parents about sexual development succeed in a variety of ways, from improved literacy to better decision making. It also creates a closer bond between families. In each of our programs, students are encouraged to identify trusted adults in their lives, and open up a dialogue with their parents/guardians. In Puberty Talk, this is facilitated through our parent interview assignment, called "Ask Your Adult."
Understanding the Body: "Sexual & Reproductive Anatomy"
Early on in the 5-day program, students gain an age-appropriate understanding of key reproductive organs in male and female bodies.
Personal Hygiene: "Taking Care of Me"
With an emphasis on growing confidence through self-care, this coloring activity helps students understand how hygiene can play a role in their lives as they grow.
Maturing Bodies: "Menstruation, Ovulation & Conception Prezi"
In this 20-minute presentation focused on reproductive processes, students gain a high-level understanding of the processes of ovulation, menstruation, and conception. Students gain familiarity with different types of feminine hygiene products. “Sex” is briefly mentioned to define one way of human reproduction; in vitro fertilization (IVF) is also discussed.
Goal-Setting: "I am the Only Me in the World"
This exercise helps students build confidence in themselves and in their growing bodies while reflecting on the knowledge they’ve gained and their personal values.
Sexually Transmitted Infections: "HIV/AIDS Fact Sheet"
Through this worksheet, facilitated by a trained instructor, students gain a basic understanding of HIV/AIDS and methods of transmission, in an age-appropriate way while de-stigmatizing the illness and cultivating empathy for those living with it. The California Health Content Standards for Growth, Development, and Sexual Health include HIV as a standard to be covered starting in 5th grade.