Alive to the World understands sexuality in its fullest sense: we are sexual beings in our biology, our psychology, our spirituality and in how we relate to others socially. Learning to respect sexuality is important to becoming a balanced individual, one who is able to mix freely and form the lasting friendships which prepare for marriage and bringing up the families of the future.
Many SRE programmes are specifically targeted at avoiding teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. While these objects are laudable, they are also very limited. Every other aspect of school education is designed to prepare students for the whole of life and Alive to the World’s SRE programme does exactly that.
It recognises that there are two types of crisis in modern sexual relations: untimely pregnancies and risk of disease is one, but there is also a growing rate of profound hurt and loneliness in the absence of permanent bonding. This is destructive of family life and can become self-perpetuating. The cost to individuals and to society generally is far reaching, and the financial burden runs annually into billions of pounds.
Alive to the World presents family life and its importance as a recurring theme through all the books. The students are taught from the earliest age why mothers and fathers are each important to their children and that the biological bond they have with them is unique and irreplaceable. The surest way to keep that biological bond intact is for the parents to marry. Students see this easily since it corresponds to an aspiration which all children have for permanence in their family relationships: research repeatedly shows that, regardless of background, the large number of children also want to marry.
Students come into the programme from many family types and it is a delicate balance to help them towards making strong future bonds without being judgmental of the arrangements they may presently be in. Alive to the World uses the characters in the stories to portray the good of marriage while recognising the common tensions and upsets which regularly occur even in the best families. By showing the students how to negotiate these, and by explaining the physical and emotional feelings they will encounter as they grow up, the programme helps students to become confident individuals who give of themselves generously and mix well with others. This prepares them for satisfying friendships, a good work ethic and happy marriages.
Alive to the World recognises that parents are the first teachers of their children and gain most if it is their parents who explain the physical aspects of sexuality to them. Sometimes teachers have to stand in, particularly if a child starts a first period at school without being primed. An extra chapter to help teachers and parents in this situation can be downloaded from the link at the top of this page.
To support parents in their more general task, Gracewing has published Sexuality Explained: a guide for parents and children. The stories it contains show a mother and daughter, or father and son, talking together about the facts of life just as other parents might. They are filled with up-to-date biological knowledge of which many people are unaware, and are illustrated with accurate but lively diagrams specially drawn for children by Jessie Gillick.
It is hoped that teachers will recommend the book to parents to accompany school lessons of Alive to the World (click here for further details).
Alive to the World avoids using films in personal matters believing the one-size-fits all approach inappropriate. Visual materials can also intrude upon a child’s imagination and right to privacy.