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Protecting children’s innocence

Threats to children’s wellbeing can come from adults, or their young peers. However, teaching pupils to be fearful runs contrary to core lessons on how to be confident in life and accepting of others. It thus risks undermining Relationships Education as a whole.

There are special sensitivities in teaching about personal dangers when pupils’ lived experience varies so widely. Many children are secure and happy, and will find such lessons bewildering. They may be shocked, or just fail to engage in the lesson with any seriousness. Others will find it uncomfortable to have painful realities talked and possibly laughed about in public.

Storytelling builds on children’s natural defences

By using stories, Alive to the World absorbs the interest of all the class while protecting more vulnerable children from feeling personally exposed. Stories include respect for privacy, deciding when to break a confidence and involve an adult, and how to recognise depression in a classmate. An early lesson in our third book Growing Together guides children on using the internet safely and with moderation, giving a foundation for speaking later about issues such as sexting.

Throughout the programme, emphasis is given to the importance of respect for their own and other people’s bodies, and for reconciling personal differences before they escalate.

Children know instinctively when they are doing wrong, or when other people are doing wrong by them. Alive to the World builds on their natural defences, critically including their sexual modesty. It avoids activities such as naming the intimate parts of the body in public.

This latter exercise is known to excite children’s unhealthy curiosity, introduce inappropriate language and behaviour, and even encourage a few to Google their newly found vocabulary, so enticing them towards a pornographic habit.

If we had had these books when I was at school, my life and many of my friends would have been very different.

“These books absolutely MUST be in PSHE. They can relate to every teenager, young person and child. If we had had these books when I was at school, my life and many of my friends would have been very different.
This type of sex and relationship education must be offered as an alternative to what there is currently. It is by far so much more comprehensive. I learn every time I read the books and I am 26 almost! They just make sense.”

MichaelaStudent at an English University