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Should sex education be taught in kindergarten?

May 26th, 2010
03:11 PM ET

Kindergarten school children in parts of Indonesia are being taught sex education lessons in a bid to warn them of the dangers of sexual abuse, but the move is being criticized by some within the country.

Teachers armed with dolls in a handful of schools are tackling a previously taboo subject in the world's largest Muslim country.

The lessons are part of a pilot program that started back in 2006 which is a joint effort between the Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association and The World Population Fund.

The program aims to break social taboos in Indonesian culture, but most importantly, to let children know when they are being approached by a sexual predator, according to Lucy Henry from the Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association.

However, the program has had its fair share of controversy.

"Our early days were filled with people protesting," Henry told CNN.

"They resisted because they didn't know what kind of a program this is, there was even a case when they threatened our teacher with knives."

There are no accurate statistics on sexual harassment in the country, but children from poorer areas who tend to roam the streets are easier victims according to Henry.

However, Henry said the lessons are paying off.

"We're seeing students respecting their bodies and the girls have more courage to speak to the boys and to bluntly tell them if there's something they don't like," Henry said.

We want to know what you think.

Should sex education be taught in kindergartens? Do you think that it might be too young?

Filed under:  General
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. H. Adan

    Kids should be warned about the dangers of being improperly touched and they should be able to recognize when a type of contact makes them uncomfortable. It is good they get proper training and that they learn to respect their bodies. However, this post does not give much detail about the training the kids receive. Hopefully, the trainers have recieved intensive training tehmselves.

    May 26, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Reply
  2. chocofudges

    I think that they should be told about the dangers of sexual predators and taught warning signs of such predators, but I think the education that kids usually learn when they are in middle or highschool (you know, the actual process), should not be taught then.

    You can teach them about where it is inappropriate to touch and what to do when someone does it, but I don't think the details of what is taught in teenage sex ed programs should be taught to five year olds.

    May 26, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Reply
  3. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello CNN friends,

    We Really Need to Take Good Care of Our Children,
    Otherwise Our Children Do NOT Have

    Let us Now Connect to make our world
    a Better Healthier and Beautiful World
    for You and for Me!

    Jurgen R. Brul
    Hometown: Paramaribo
    Country: Suriname

    May 26, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  4. C. Suisho

    I agree that children need early training; myself a victim of abuse as a child, I found it very important when I had my own children to teach them what is "right" and what is "wrong" from adults and from other children. There are plenty of age appropriate information children that young can be given that will start them on the road to self protection, without making it scary.
    To me, it was better to train and teach than live with the fear they'd have experiences like those from my childhood.

    May 26, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Reply
  5. BECT

    I agree. This will be the first time my child will be out of my supervision and I am teaching him about good vs bad touches. He already knows about gender differences as he has a younger sister, and yes, at age 4 and 2 they still bathe together under adult supervision. I am teaching him that no one should touch any area that would be covered by clothing, and if it feels wrong tell mommy and daddy. He is a lot smarter than the average bear, but then again, they all are.

    May 26, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Reply
  6. gosian

    Gosz, kindergarted?

    Sex education? sound terrible! I don't trust these organizations.

    Those children are just too young. Parents should teach them, not "organizations" which teach them – who knows what? Children easily buy every propaganda.

    May 26, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Reply
  7. William Marlowe

    This is absurd. Absolutely not. This is way too early.

    May 26, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Reply
  8. Loganius

    That's way too old for it to be done in school.

    May 26, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  9. Tilly

    First, it seems the phrase "sex education" is either being used too broadly or people are just seizing upon what it normally means (i.e. learning about intercourse and STDs) and not reading the rest.

    That said, I think it's fantastic that they are learning the differences between boys and girls and also using knowledge and self-awareness as a way to reduce child sexual abuse. In all countries, but particularly in Indonesia and the like, the sex trade is gigantic and even pre-pubescent children are targets for abuse and sexual slavery. For every teacher advocating self-awareness as power and not demonizing our bodies and sexuality, I say 'thank you'! We should have such programs here in the U.S.!

    May 26, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Reply
  10. Allison

    I feel that this work is really important- this will help save many children from abuse. Sexual education of any kind is somewhat taboo in that neck of the woods, and it will help these children prevent a lifetime of suffering, and help put pedophiles away!

    Thank you for sharing this!

    May 26, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Reply
  11. Monkey see Monkey dooooooo................

    Does anyone know the game of "MONKEY SEE MONKEY DOOOO
    I agree that kids should know about the birds and bees and all that BUT at this age you are asking for trouble....and besides...it should be the parents who teach their children about this NOT teachers!!!!! What happened to PARENTING in this world? My goodness we have the children and then don't teach them.....children should learn from home FIRST and not from schools or teachers....THAT is called a FOUNDATION.
    Look at the United States for an example....schools supposedly teach sex ed to PREVENT them from playing house...yeah...but the sex rate in school is like rats breeding and playing...and then they have the nerve to help your child along in an abortion that you were not aware of ...who is parenting who?
    For those of you offended or not able to breath after my post....you should start asking yourself who is in control of YOUR CHILD? The STATE is.....who is the parent then? WHO IS TEACHING YOUR KIDS?

    May 26, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Reply
  12. carson alexander

    we have public displays of nudity in front of their faces on tv video games are reasons why it should be taught in kinder garden schools

    May 26, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Reply
  13. Javed Hossain

    i think it is an excellent idea.i disagree with opinions that this should be only tought by parents.it is not that easy.but i think a different aspect must also be taken into account.that is these children must not feel insecure or demoralized when relatives like uncles,cousins,etc show their love in a pure manner like hugs and kisses they deserve as small cute children.hats off to the courageous teachers and those responsible for this iniative.

    May 27, 2010 at 6:29 am | Reply
  14. Keira

    Sure, why not? We're not teaching them about sex per se, merely the differences between girls & boys & what they need to do in order to protect themselves if someone touches them. Knowledge is power & kids are smarter than we think. Let's empower our kids to be smart! Some parents won't talk to their kids about this - someone has to do it. Why not the place they spend most of their days at?


    May 28, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Reply

    It seems to be better future planning for A HEALTHY GENERATION.

    When I was young, I was used by our house-maid, and even my cousin used to satisfy his ......., . Even to-day I remember it as a bad dreem. Every boy / girl must know how to preidct evil and how to maintain the distance with evil minded people.

    Thanks for the bold teaching crew, and the supporting parents.

    S. Brinda.

    May 31, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Reply
  16. Janice

    Absolutely too young. I'm a teacher and think sex education should only be taught in middle school and up.

    The best way to teach sex education is for the home to teach it not public education.

    May 31, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Reply
  17. shel

    No, no kindergardener knows what sex is so why should we introduce them to the subject. Let kids be kids and keep their innocence.

    June 1, 2010 at 12:50 am | Reply
  18. Matt Jones

    These people saying things like this should be left to parents are mad. That way, some will get some sex ed, some won't get any, and some will get a perverted religious view of it – as opposed to a rational scientific one.

    Reading this article (something most of you seem incapable of) it's clear that this programme would not seek to disseminate secondary school level sex education information. It would merely educate children about the dangers. How can parents be trusted to carry out such a task when in some rare cases it may be them themselves perpetrating the abuse?

    June 1, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  19. Jen

    You're a fool if the only thing you see about this article is "Kindergarten" and "Sex Education."
    We need to be teaching children about their bodies all through their lives. It's important to the sexual health of any nation.
    I'm sorry, but parents should not be left to do sexual education. Their opinions are thrown into it, and rarely, fact comes to the surface.

    The only people I see who are saying, "NO, TOO YOUNG" are women. Probably women with children.

    June 2, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Reply
  20. Qaisar hasan ( Pakistan)



    June 8, 2010 at 9:24 am | Reply
  21. CC Croft

    Children are children. I had a book that said how to respect my body – from sexual abuse to someone tickling me to an old lady pinching my cheeks. I think it was called "My Body" or "My Body is My Own" or something like that.

    It sounds like this is the "sex ed" that is being taught. That it is okay to say you don't want to be touched and to stand up for yourself.

    Thank goodness!

    I can only hope the people saying that this is bad are people who haven't read the article. It's not like they're teaching them how to use condoms.

    Besides, kids having sex voluntarily is an epidemic in North America among children who haven't learned anything about it.

    These people are worried about children being abused and are trying to offer them a place to stand their ground and help themselves.

    August 17, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  22. Culture Bearer

    Many are saying sex ed should be taught at home. That's a great idea, but it doesn't work in the real world. How many parents know the facts and, more importantly, how to explain everything in an age-appropriate way that is effective. Don't know about Indonesia, but in America teachers get extra training to be able to teach sex ed. Many parents are too embarrassed to talk to their kids about drugs, sex, and other sensitive topics. This means many kids will not get the information they need if it's left up to them.

    September 3, 2010 at 9:57 am | Reply
  23. George

    Planned Parenthood should not have access to children. They are not the people to teach anything. They are perverts seeking legitimacy That has been proven time and time again in our abortion clinics........

    September 8, 2010 at 3:09 am | Reply
  24. Chibi Oka-chan

    My jaw dropped to the floor when I saw this video!
    I can agree with being taught about abuse and harrassment. But SHOWING a 5 YEAR OLD what an adult private part looks like?!?!?
    I'm sorry but my son at 5 is NOT going to learn that his penis gets hard until he himself asks me or his dad!
    Kids should be kids and grow up on there own! Not taught such adult stuff at such a young age!
    Once more, anatomy is fine, reproduction is fine, but graphs and charts and naked dolls are a NO!
    Go back to the math and english!

    September 28, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Reply
  25. Billy

    Why do we want our children to even learn about this at such a young age? Kids are only kids for a time. They don't need to know about what will happen in their teens at the age of 5! It is the parents job to talk to the child about such matters. Not a PUBLIC SCHOOL!!!!!!!!

    January 13, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Reply

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