Sexual education is not about teaching sex.
Sexual education teaches the child to
- respect themselves
- know themselves and know their own boundaries
- always say no when someone does not respect their boundaries
- respect the boundaries of others.
As a parent, you can teach these skills to your child from very young age. Related to this, you can find information in the videos below and in the sections for each age period infant development, growth and development of children, and growth and development of school-age children.
A child’s own view of their gender identity and sexuality evolves during comprehensive school. Through its values and practices, the school community promotes equality of genders and supports pupils in building their own identity.
The objective of the school is to promote the healthy growth and development of the pupils. Teaching is given at a level appropriate for the pupils’ age and capabilities. Life skills, self-knowledge, emotional skills and comprehensive well-being are important perspectives.
The teaching provided takes a gender-aware approach. The objective is to support growth as a person. This is also part of the duty of basic education.
Matters concerning sexuality will be discussed in health education, among other subjects.
- Health education is taught at all grades, and in the first six grades as a part of environmental education.
- Matters suitable for the children’s age and development stage will be taught at all grades. The principles are based on valuing life and living a valuable life in accordance with human rights.
During the first grades, the syllabus includes human anatomy, key bodily functions and the different stages of growth and development.
- Sexual development and human procreation will be discussed as appropriate for the pupils’ age.
- Special attention is paid to current developmental changes and understanding their individual nature.
- Learning to identify messages from one’s own body and mind is practised, as is
- identifying, expressing and controlling emotions
- Human diversity and valuing it will be taken into account in the learning environments, working methods and selection of study materials.
During grades 7–9, the themes studied during the earlier grades will be taught in more depth and more extensively, at a level appropriate for the pupils’ age.
- The subjects taught include sexuality, the various sections of sexual health and the diversity of sexual development.
- The contents of growth and development emphasise the construction of identity, self-image and self-knowledge; sexual development; the significance of care, family and loved ones; well-being of the mind; valuing yourself; and protective skills.
- When teaching emotional and communication skills, attention is paid to behaviour in social situations as well as expressing and controlling emotions.
- The teaching provides more information on and understanding of the diversity of gender.
- The pupils are encouraged to build a community that does not accept any kind of bullying, sexual harassment or other forms of discrimination.
- Various texts and materials suited to what is needed at the pupils’ age will be used in teaching, such as books, magazines, games, films and music, as well as content chosen and made by the pupils.
- The trends and content of media culture will also be examined. The role of media in everyday life will be discussed with the pupils.
More information on the City’s curriculum.
Sexual education poster for children under school age , Väestöliitto:
The Kasvurauhaa material (‘Peaceful growth’), Väestöliitto (in Finnish):