Interrelate Sex Education for Kids; What’s involved?’

Interrelate is a well known organisation that run sex education programs for kids, as well as many other programs. This review delves into what the Interrelate Sex education involves, as well as my and Andy’s personal review of the program which we attended recently.

 Introduction

Sexual education isn’t the most comfortable topic and is often seen by many as taboo. However, children need to know that sex, sexuality and understanding body parts are all healthy and normal parts of life.

Even though children pick up many things from their home environment, school is an essential source of information and knowledge for young people. Having open, honest conversations in which a safe space is created will ensure children make healthier choices in their future. We must also understand that these are not just one-off conversations but conversations that should evolve as children grow. Interrelate is a well-recognized organization that provides sex, relationship and well-being programs for children to learn about these topics in an accurate and age-appropriate manner. Continue reading to find out more about what they offer.

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What is Interrelate?

Interrelate is an Australian not-for-profit provider that offers relationship services to individuals, couples, families, children, schools and communities.

The organization provides a range of services to empower people in the community to build and strengthen relationships. They work with over 1000 schools to deliver programs related to bullying, sexuality, puberty and also inform children about what healthy relations look like. In fact, Interrelate was the first original company to introduce education about sexuality.

Not only does Interrelate run teaching programs, but they also specialize in relationship services and support at all stages, supporting parents, to help couples, family relationships, and people navigate through life’s challenges more positively.

“Interrelate has been a not-for-profit provider of relationship services to individuals, couples, families, children, schools and communities for more than 90 years.”

interrelate.org.au

What programs do Interrelate run?

Interrelate run a range of programs for many different age groups. To find out more, you can have a look here.

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For children and young adults, the organization’s main priority is to build strong, respectful children so they, in turn, grow to be strong and resilient as adults.

Below is a list of programs Interrelate runs for children and young people:

  • Building Bridges – for children aged 8-12 who have parents living separately
  • Children’s Contact Service – a child-focused place for children and their families to spend time together
  • Counselling – family counselling for all family members
  • Disability Royal Commission – support for people with disabilities, their families, friends, support workers and carers.
  • Family Mental Health Support Service – for young people affected by mental illness
  • Relationship and Sex Education – sex and relationship education in schools
  • Seasons for Growth – for children who have suffered significant change or loss.
  • Self-Esteem and Communication – building communication skills and self esteem in young people

 No matter what program or service you choose, Interrelate offers an inclusive environment where people of any background or culture should feel safe, valued, welcome and accepted.

Interrelate Sex Education in Schools (What is it all about?)

Research shows that four out of five parents actually want content about relationships and sexual health to be taught in schools. The Australian Government and Education Authorities acknowledge Interrelate to provide sex education to children in schools. The main aim of this program is to ensure children have a good understanding of the possible consequences of relationships whilst also creating a safe space to answer any questions children may have.

What age kids is the Interrelate sex education program for?

As outlined by Better Health Victoria, children are naturally curious about their bodies from a young age. We must use the correct terminology to identify body parts to reduce the shame and anxiety associated with these topics.

 There is a short program for Under 8’s in which children learn to identify different body parts and understand how a baby’s life begins. Year 3 and Year 4 children aged between 8-9 years study the basics of the male and female reproductive system. The programs then continue until children reach year 10. The topics will grow in complexity as they progress to the higher classes.

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It’s so important that kids learn the basics of sex education before they start high school – Interrelate run a variety of age-appropriate programs throughout primary and high school

What topics are covered in the Interrelate sex education program?

In primary school, the following topics are covered: 

  • Male and female reproductive systems
  • Personal safety and protective behaviours
  • Physical changes in puberty
  • Contraception, pregnancy and birth
  • Understanding periods and sperm production
  • Moving to teen years

In the high school program, the topics students learn about are:

  • Shades of pornography
  • Understanding consent
  • Defining sexual health
  • Ways to feel safe in relationships
  • Understanding contraception
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In the Interrelate program, boys and girls are encouraged to have empathy and understanding for what the opposite sex is going through during puberty

Andy and I went to the Interrelate night at his school!

Andy and I attended the Interrelate evening at his primary school just recently. At first, he was reluctant to go, saying to me “I already know everything mum”, (since we had the ‘Sex’ talk last year in the car). Haha, I assured him he did NOT know everything and that it was going to be informative and educational and he might learn a thing or two that I may have left out when we had the big chat.

It turns out even I learned a thing or two!

Here’s what was covered in the Interrelate evening we attended:

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  • Different families and family structures
  • How people show love to each other
  • Names of body parts, including correct names for our genitals (or ‘private parts’)
  • Bodily fluids in a male and a female (discharge in females, wet dreams and ejaculation in males)
  • Bodily changes during puberty (body hair, body odour, pimples, voice changes, erections, periods)
  • Emotional/hormonal changes in puberty – the many factors that account for mood changes
  • Masturbation
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Consent
  • IVF and how it works
  • How fertilisation happens
  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Dealing with erections
  • How to manage periods with pads, tampons, and period underwear
  • Child protection – saying ‘NO’, going away, TELLing trusted adults

Overall, the Interrelate evening was well worth it!

The presenter/talker was easy to relate to, she was personable, had a sense of humour and made the kids laugh from time to time. She even made the adults laugh here and there.. She showed a cartoon video to the group which covered the fertilisation process – it was easy to follow, and not too complex. This was great as it made the whole process seem scientific, factual and gave some visuals to aid understanding.

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She brought along some pads, tampons and period underwear to show everyone and demonstrated (with her hands) as to how to use these products. She also suggested to the young girls to take along a little purse to school which contained a spare pair of underwear, and some pads or panty liners, in case of accidents or leakage, which I thought was a great idea.

Andy came away telling me he was glad he went, he thought the presenter was funny and he did learn some new things! Specifically, he told me he learned:

  • About the IVF process
  • The details around periods
  • The finer details of fertilisation
  • He learned the word/words for different things, such as ‘menstruation’, ‘menopause’, ‘in vitro’ as well as the words for some of our internal sex organs.

“Mum, I’m glad I came to the Interrelate night. I didn’t think I would learn anything new but I did. And the lady was funny. It wasn’t boring, it was interesting and I’m glad I learned more about periods and IVF and those body parts I didn’t know”

My son, Andy – 11 years old.

How do schools get involved?

To book a program for your school you simply have to fill out this form. For any other queries or questions you can call 1300 473 528.

How much does the Interrelate sex education program cost?

Each of the Interrelate programs have different costs. There are family evening sessions (which is what Andy and I attended) and there are also School Day programs. Some of the programs are also grouped together in bundle packages. Here is a quick overview to help you out:

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For more detailed information for each program, take a look at their brochure HERE.

What other related programs do Interrelate run for school aged kids?

Other programs taught to students in the primary years cover issues such as sexuality, gender, bullying awareness and respectful relationships.

The high school relationship programs cover more complicated issues related to teenage life. Some examples include understanding your body, biology, gender resilience, expression of self, relationships and pornography.

What resources do Interrelate provide?

Interrelate has published different books that answer many questions children may have about puberty, sexuality or puberty. Often, children may even be embarrassed to ask questions in front of their classmates. Therefore, these books are a great way for children to get information from the correct source. The books have age-appropriate answers to real questions that students have submitted in previous programs.

 Additionally, webinars, resource sheets, parent kits and books are available to ensure you have access to knowledge about sexual education. Check out the resources Interrelate has to offer by clicking here.

 Conclusion

We all want children to have access to good quality sex education so they can make more informed decisions about their health, well-being and future. Interrelate runs many wonderful programs for both primary and high school children to build stronger relationships and empower the community. It’s never too late to get started on giving children reliable information on sexual health! Visit Interrelate’s website for more information on packages and resources. 

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