Some young people (especially those that have come from schools that have been delivering the Spring Fever Programme – may have had some really good input around puberty and will know a lot of the facts already – and yet for some this may all be something completely new… whichever way round, more than likely, there will be a wide variety of understanding not to mention experience.
Indeed, many of the children in your class will have already started puberty; for others they may still be waiting… this can cause huge insecurities for some young people, so you will need to be sensitive to the fact.
Whilst this may seem like a huge challenge and difficult to manage – this is also a massive opportunity to put everyone’s mind at rest – answer their questions and do some really good ground work to make everyone feel good about themselves.
Even though some may have covered a lot of the information already, this doesn’t mean that they will have all the answers. As they return to the topic, they will have a new perspective, they are a little bit older, and things now will be relevant that weren’t before.
Use the experience in the class – get them to lead as much of the session as you can – ask them lots of questions and get them to tell you what they know.
Usually I like to start the session by getting everyone involved. I will say that I would like everyone to tell me one change that happens to either a girl or a boy (or both) when they go through puberty.
Tell me one change that happened to either a girl or a boy (or both) when they go through puberty
This works on a number of levels – firstly, it helps to get over the embarrassment as everyone must get involved – there are no passes in this exercise. Yes, this can make some young people uncomfortable – but this it is something we need to challenge. No matter what young people may go on to do in the future – they will all have to speak up in front of their peers at some point. The sooner they become comfortable with this the better – plus if people are stuck – make it fun – help them out – put on your mime gloves and act something out – it is ok to be daft occasionally!
On another level – this simple exercise of working round the asking them to all answer the same question – works as a very quick needs assessment – allowing you to judge what level to pitch the class at – as you find out who knows what and were the gaps are…
If you can make a point of explaining the emotional changes that take place too – the mood swings, tantrums, changes in relationships and becoming more self conscious about their body’s as they grow and change.
If you can allow more time than you expect for this session – don’t rush and use this as an ideal opportunity to answer the classes questions… as i said this can be a really good foundation for making these sessions a really open, honest and fun environment.
Make the most of it.
Film – How to talk about Puberty…
a short how to clip that shows how I would deliver a puberty session…
Puberty Script. here is a script of all the things I try to cover and the best ways i have found of explaining all the lumps and bumps of puberty.
facts in five – an excellent revision tool
underwear-rule-children-guide-english – NSPCC – appropriate touching and personal boundaries rules
Click here for Tips for answering Questions from our good practice guide.
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