By Urs Cunningham | Posted: Wednesday March 24, 2021
On Tuesday 23rd March we held a consultation session for parents around our PE and Health programme.
Schools are required to consult with their community on implementing the relevant parts of the health education curriculum. In 2020 part of the Health curriculum was revised, creating a new guiding document for that aspect of the health curriculum - ‘Relationships and Sexuality Education’. These guidelines have been devised by the Ministry of Education to help schools adopt a whole-school approach to strengthening their programmes around relationships and sexuality education. The document recognises both the importance of social emotional learning for healthy relationships and the importance of learning about health for the ongoing wellbeing of all communities in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Our community consultation session was a very positive one, with parents and teachers breaking into two groups to hold really valuable discussions around the content of our PE and Health programme. We discussed four key areas:
Growing and Changing (including nutrition and hygiene)
Identity and Mental Health
Relationships and Keeping Myself Safe
PE and Fitness
Here is the overview of the content we will be covering in these areas for the rest of this year.
Some key details we shared as part of the session
- There are other areas of emotional development that we cover through our Journey of Growth and Development, particularly in the areas of Confidence and Connectedness. This can be viewed on Hero, and the content is covered through our team Whānau Hauora sessions, Whānau Time, and other learning areas, particularly inquiry.
- The new modules of health learning, informed by the revised Relationships and Sexuality Education Guide, will be called ‘Health’ in our learning programmes, and they will run alongside our ongoing Whānau Hauora learning.
- We will send out information about the content being covered in Health sessions for the term at the start of each term. Parents are able to opt their children out of any Health sessions if they do not want their children to cover this content. Parents need to let their child’s whānau teacher know which areas they do not want their child to participate in, and their child will complete other learning instead.
- Please be aware that if your child does not participate in particular Health sessions, the information from the sessions is still likely to be discussed amongst the children out in the playground. We also know that if children are not given key health information from trusted sources, such as school learning programmes or parents, they are likely to go to sources such as Google to get their information, which may provide inappropriate or incorrect information.
- Children will continue to complete their ongoing Whānau Hauora sessions in their learning hub, with their whānau groups. Health sessions will be completed in year level groups. This is because the Health curriculum is separated into levels: level 1 covers Year 1 and 2 students; level 2 covers year 3 and 4 students; and level 3 covers year 5 and 6 students. The content at these levels is quite different, and it is important that students receive the appropriate content for their level, no matter what hub they are based in. This means that year 2 students based in Harakeke will complete their Health sessions in Koru Hub with other year 2 students, and year 4 students in Pōhutukawa will have their Health sessions in Harakeke with the other year 4 students.
Some key ideas or areas for school to consider from parents at the session
- In sessions that look at how we are unique and how everyone is different, it would be good to look at expanding the range of differences to cover differences in skin colour, culture, physical features, and whether we are disabled or non-disabled. If we approach this from the standpoint of celebrating the differences that make us all amazing and unique, we can also cover language that promotes an understanding and celebration of diversity.
- Some parents talked about the possible benefit of access to information sessions for parents about the content we are covering, so that they can use the same language and/or feel more confident in discussing areas where they may not feel they have a lot of content knowledge or understanding themselves.
- There are wide ranging cultural differences around how some of this content is covered. It would be good to find ways of getting input from different cultural groups in our community, to enable school to create an approach that meets the needs of our multicultural community.
We will now continue to further develop our plans for the Health modules that will run for the rest of the term, using input from the consultation session to create plans that are appropriate for our context.
Support for parents
Family Planning runs free courses for parents about supporting children around relationships and sexuality. Here is where you can keep up to date with courses coming up, and register for any sessions you would like to attend. The next course is a Zoom session on April 12th. There is also a Family Planning guidance booklet for parents to help with talking to your tamariki (children) around sex and sexuality.
We will communicate with parents before the start of Term 2 to give an overview of the content for our Health module/s for the term.
The Amesbury team