Sex ed for 5-year-olds?

Chicago Public Schools will soon begin teaching sexual education to kindergartners. While the true sexual part of the curriculum won’t kick in until fourth grade when kids hit the ripe old age of 9, the lessons for the 5-year-olds will focus on family, feelings and inappropriate touching.

I fully support sex ed. There are parents out there who will never address sexuality and reproduction with their kids, so I’m glad schools offer sex ed programs. But for age 5? This seems a bit absurd to me.

I don’t know what the magical age is to start sex education in schools, but I am pretty confident that 5 is not it. That doesn’t even give parents a chance to talk to their kids at home before something as sacred as sexuality and reproduction becomes just another lesson plan. When I choose to discuss these topics with my daughter, I want it to be in a loving family discussion rather than during circle time with 25 other kids who have just decided that private parts are hilarious and are now OK to talk about at school.

My daughter is 5 and we have touched on a few of the nobody-should-touch-you-here topics, but we’ve been very careful to not make a big deal of sexuality yet. We answer questions as she asks them or as opportunities arise naturally.

Sure, you can opt your kid out of sex ed, but that basically just means he or she is going to get all the info second-hand at recess from giggling students who just saw their first ovary.

I’d love to see the actual curriculum for this new program. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s completely appropriate and respectful. Let’s just hope a group of 5-year-olds can be, too.

Do you think 5 is too young for sex ed?





  1. John Charity Spring

    Stewart has largely missed the point here. The point is not simply that there should be age-based considerations, the point is that the whole purpose of Chicago’s program is ill-intentioned.

    Chicago is ruled by left wing extremists, and as such, it is fully immersed in leftist dogma. Part of this dogma includes an agenda of destroying traditional marriage and family. This so-called sex education program is simply a part of this agenda.

    The left wants people to believe that sex is purely a recreational activity that should be engaged in at any time with any person. In order to promote this idea, the left is attempting to indoctrinate even five-year-olds. The left knows that it must infuse a casual attitude towards sex in children when they are as young as possible.

    Shame on the left, and shame on Chicago. It is time for all good parents to stand for what is right.

    • mei

      I’m sorry, but teaching kids that it isn’t ok to touch specific parts of someone’s body is not teaching them to engage in recreational sex, it’s teaching them to protect themselves from abuse.

  2. Sidney Brown

    I raised three children. I don’t think 5 is too young. I was taught that you should be teaching your children now about things they will need to know 4 years from now. What will your child be exposed to at age 9? Will your daughter have started her periods? (very possible) In the LDS church we begin teaching girls at age 12 how to behave with boys on dates at age 16. All that being said, I believe the primary responsibility lies with parents. I would want to be familiar with the curriculum before I opted in. Is it age appropriate? One of my favorite LDS-published resources is called, I think, “A Parent’s Guide.” It is a great resource for clear, age appropriate suggestions and information.

  3. sara walker

    Hey 5 is way too young for this subject. I believe we have to protect our children from predators but cant they enjoy their childhood with out spilling the beans of the birds and bees? Your only little once. Do we have to take their innocence away from them that early? Let them enjoy being a kid for a bit.

  4. Uneva

    I find it extremely appalling that Deseret News, a publication I once fervently read, in its entirety, has stooped to hosting such an article! They should publicly denounce all affiliation with the Church they were once a proud part of!!

    Age 15 is too young for sex education in school, as are ages 25, 35, 45, etc! Sex education should NEVER be taught in school!

    PARENTS should be taught to teach it to their children in the private, sacred atmosphere that can only be found in a God-fearing home! This sacred responsibility has been neglected and ignored by too many parents, for way too long!

    That’s why our nation (and the world) is in the despicable state of moral decay we find it in today!

    • mei

      There is nothing wrong with sex ed when it is appropriately tackled whether it’s in a home, church, or school. There is no way a doctor can become competent without it, nor a nurse, nor a nutritionist, nor anyone who wants to work in a health-related field. And just as a high-school junior can be CNA, she should also be allowed to have sex ed in high school and junior high to prepare her for her job. This is basic biology that, logically speaking, can not be ignored.

      The world is the way it is, not because we are talking about sex in schools, but because it is not being talked about at home as well. Many kids don’t grow up in a “god fearing” home. What are they supposed to do? And many “god fearing” parents are too skittery to even say the word “sex.” Don’t blame the schools for trying, and sometimes failing, to make up for the failures in the family.

  5. Hillary

    I think the problem isn’t that parents *should* and schools *shouldn’t*, but that parents *don’t*. The “sex” part (and I use that term with hesitation) of this curriculum doesn’t kick in until 4th grade, which is when it starts in Utah public schools. As Sidney Brown mentioned above, a lot of girls have already started puberty by fourth grade. All the kindergarteners will learn is about families and feelings and Good Touch/Bad Touch. That seems like good, positive information.

    Anyway, it’s not like the schools will be passing out condoms and giving tips- the reproductive system isn’t a secret or scary and won’t lead to a bunch of children suddenly becoming sexualized. Knowing what an ovary is and what it does is just part of biology, UNLESS the grown-ups make it uncomfortable or make it a big secret. That’s what makes kids think it’s funny or scary.

  6. mei

    I think this is totally appropriate. By the time kids get into public school, they should have already had this talk with their parents, but many parents are failing to teach their kids either out of ignorance or negligence.

    But really, the schools already teach this in kindergarten and preschool. Just watch any Sesame St. episode, even from the 80s. Family and feelings are part of their major curriculum. As for touching, they already teach kids to be respectful in school such as not yelling obscenities and playing nice. Why not add in inappropriate touching? Chances are, some of the kids have been inappropriately touched at home, and now they’ll know that they not only have the right to not be touched that way but that they can get help through their teacher.

  7. Anne Carlson

    I think the writer doesn’t understand what is involved in Sex Ed for 5 year olds. I have sent my kids to those classes and they are not at all what one thinks of as SexEd (if you had the highschool version.) It’s just the names of various bits and how they belong to you and nobody but your parents and your Dr should touch them or ask to see them. And that people come in boy and girl and that they grow up into Men and Women. Not the birds and the bees and not bow-chica-wow-wow.

  8. Raquel

    First of all, you yourself said that these classes would be focused on “family, feelings and inappropriate touching”. These are things that wouldn’t be an issue for children to talk about. If my child is learning at an early age how to tell that the pedophile touching her is not okay then I’m all for it. You’re looking at it too heavily from the SEX education side of it. There probably will not even be any sex talk involved in these discussions at all. Secondly, if the sexual discussions begin at 9 (which doesn’t make sense to me at all considering I didn’t have my first sex-ed class until the 8th grade) your little 5 year old is going to hear the giggling about testicles anyway.
    It makes me sad for you ladies that you think that teachers are going to be telling a group of 5 year-old children about sex, how it’s done, and the body parts involved. It’s clear to me that you did not read the article and that you decided common sense isn’t completely necessary for a topic like this.

  9. Sarah

    I don’t think several of the commenters (who ironically called Erin and others on the carpet for the same thing) actually read the article. Yes, the curriculum emphasizes inappropriate touching, but kindergartners will also “learn the basics about anatomy [and] reproduction”. More importantly, the article slips in at the end that they are also going to be teaching about “sexual orientation and gender identity.” No matter what your views are, do you really think a government employee should be teaching your child about this topic? Wake up! Yes, there is an agenda and yes, it is anti-family and anti-God, and yes, unless we wake up, the next generation may actually be as grim as the world John Charity Spring lives in.

  10. Ashley

    In this day and age, we’re lucky if our children don’t hear about it from someone else at any age. I’d rather my son learn in a safe environment without all of the myths about sex (we all know there are plenty). One day, my baby isn’t going to be a baby anymore. I will have no control over how he decides to handle his private life. The best I can do is make sure he can make his choices with all the best information and make sure that information is readily available to him.

  11. John

    I like the idea of discussing in school family, feelings, and inappropriate touching. However, I don’t think it should be called sex ed or be a separate presentation. Most schools already have a police officer come and talk to young kids about avoiding strangers, etc. Couldn’t this discussion be a continuation of that discussion? The point here is not sex ed, the point is teaching children at a young age what is and is not appropriate.

    The world is not a safe place. Many homes are no longer safe. Teaching children to protect their bodies is a good thing. I guess I’m not surprised at the over-reaction of some people above, but I still find their over-reaction to be selfish and embarrassing.

    My question to you Erin is this: If we don’t teach children at age 5 that no one has the right to touch their bodies, at what age do we teach them this, and why? Five seems an appropriate age to me.

  12. Rick

    Meh, if all they are doing is talking about inappropriate touching, then 5 is a good age. Kids need to be taught that, and multiple times, so this isn’t a home vs. school thing but a BOTH thing. Kids like to experiment (remember that article in the news a couple of weeks back about kindergarteners having oral sex at school). So as soon as they know they have different genitalia, it’s time to tell them not to touch others or be touched.

    We start talking to our kids around 4 or 5 and then when they turn 8 we have the full talk. That usually preempts what they teach at school, as well as their puberty, and seems to work great.

  13. Concerned mother

    Well said! The people who say nothing or do not complain about children being taught this muck are the ones addicted to sick sites that destroy family life. I don’t want my daughter taught this muck ever as a child, let alone 5 years old. When she is old enough to know I will tell her and it will not be from some seedy video. She is still a child! And children deserve an innocent childhood, not pretending their older and acting like grown ups, which puts them in huge danger! Totally brainwashed by our media to believe that this awful behaviour is acceptable. When really our schools should be teaching children the values of family life and how important mothers and fathers respect each other and more importantly their children, putting them before themselves at all time. Mothers need to teach children that no one touches them and they do not walk about with no clothes on. And never keep a secret! Always tell Mummy or someone you trust who loves and respects them. The sick magazines in the food shops, which are in view of children sum up our education and government. It is time the tax payer sacked them.

    My daughter has created a song called “Family Joy.” Maggie the founder of the only real children’s charity in the UK has asked to use this song to help give children their rights back, their innocence and childhood. The right to act as a child and not as a grown up!

    The UK created a law to stop children speaking out about abuse in state run children’s homes. My Nan was a child orphan (victim) so I am aware of what really happens in these places! (She was my hero and saved us from the care system as our poor mum is ill.) If you had a car crash, would you not want your family to look after your child? Yes! Grandparents have no rights, why? Because there is huge profit in selling children to foster homes.

    When I was a child I had the magical outside adventure of a lifetime. Something I wish my child and others could have experienced. I would play in the park with my friends/sister, go to the beach with no grown ups. Yes there were bad people around, but nothing like there is today. And I never came across any in the park or on the beach. What mother would put pictures of their child or videos with no clothes on? It is common sense that this sort of thing would attract bad people and encourage awful things that destroy a child’s childhood. A law was passed to put children in danger.

    I found this magazine in the library, right near the children’s section. It is a Lottery magazine and they have funded glamorizing student girls selling themselves for money. There is something wrong with the people in power! Who allow this.

    Here is my recording with Women’s Aid asking them the question “What are they doing about the media to make it child and family friendly?” Not a lot by the sounds of it.

    My sister is broken because of what bad men have done to her. She was scared for her life and that her husband and his friend would rape her when forcing her to watch a disgusting sick movie for men. I know of three women lucky to be alive and how their husbands were addicted to this muck and how it made them violent. Sky TV, Talk Talk all promote these sites which are forced on families as you cannot hide them unless you know how. Talk Talk have to talk you through the procedure as I complained last week. These sites glamorize cheating, hence destroying family life and leaving children with one parent families unable to cope financially. Then they snatch them.

    Why does Sky advertise sick sites right near children’s channels? I want to cancel all TV and just create a child friendly website full of fun videos and a child friendly music channel. Who would support this? This is Sky.

    I moved over to Talk Talk because I thought they had morals because of the work MP Claire Perry had done with them to try and change the Internet to be child friendly. But they are forcing adult sites on families. This muck should be subscription only paid for by people who have no morals or family values.

    This is MP Claire Perry, listen to how men in power boo her for protecting children from harm. I am taking my video off with regards to thanking Talk Talk, I am disgusted!

    The tax payer needs to step up and sack the Government for destroying family life and putting children in danger.

  14. Janai dotson

    I agree completely! Kids that young should NOT be exposed to those certain things until middle or high school. A kid should be a kid and just worry about how to spell their name or coloring…that I’s TOO mature for their ears and Needs to WAIT

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