Growing Up Comes First: Puberty Education
Growing Up Comes First is a maturation/puberty education program designed to increase the wellbeing of Utah students ages 9-12 during the puberty process. Parent/caregiver participation is welcome and encouraged. The program can be presented during the school day or in an after school setting, for youth organizations, churches and social groups.
The Growing Up Comes First program works closely with parents and caregivers to increase their knowledge of adolescent growth and development while improving parent/child communication skills. When parents/caregivers and children are able to talk openly with each other about matters of reproductive health and responsibility, the parents'/caregivers' role as primary educators is affirmed.
The three components of Growing Up Comes First are:
Students will receive accurate, age-appropriate information regarding the physical, mental, emotional and social changes that occur during puberty including reproductive anatomy and physiology. Students will be encouraged to communicate with trusted adults to get their questions answered.
Defining and maintaining personal boundaries is vital to decision making. Students will understand what it feels like to reach a personal boundary. They will practice inspecting their own boundaries and, through role play situations, apply assertive communication skills to protect boundaries and demonstrate respect for the boundaries of others.
Media Awareness and Body Respect
Students will explore the concepts of "individuality" and "conformity". They will determine how beauty is defined in our society and the influence media has on this definition. Participants will also recognize the impact puberty can have on body image and identify ways to show respect for self and others
- You can be prepared for the changes of puberty
- You can protect your personal boundaries
- You can appreciate and respect your body
- You can get your questions answered
Growing Up Comes First conveys the following additional messages:
- Everyone goes through puberty at their own time and in their own way.
- It's okay to feel giggly and embarrassed when talking about growing up.
- During puberty, boys and girls experience many of the same changes.
- These changes can be physical, mental, emotional and social.
- It is important for young people to identify trusted adults at home and at school they can go to with questions and concerns about puberty.
- Even if the body may be getting physically ready to have a baby, that doesn't mean that girls or boys are emotionally or mentally ready to be parents.
- Using correct terminology helps us show respect, decreases body shame and helps with communicating concerns and questions to parents and medical providers.
- It is important to identify personal boundaries and protect them with assertive communication.
- Media, including advertising, can influence conformity and body image.
Sample Curriculum Materials
Schools, churches, and community groups can purchase materials, or request a GUCF educator to teach the program. Growing Up Comes First consists of 3 sections. All educational materials including a fun brochure for students and a parent handbook will soon be available for purchase online. For now you can purchase the program by calling Planned Parenthood Association of Utah Community Education at 801.532.1586 or 1.800.627.9558.