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Do Now

Given evidence that many girls and boys are physically maturing faster than previous decades, do you think schools should start sex-ed at a younger age? When is the right time to start talking to kids about their changing bodies, and what are the best ways to have that conversation? Who should educate kids about puberty — parents or schools or both?


As of today, about half of the states in the U.S. require public schools to teach some form of sex education. In many places, these classes begin with information about puberty starting when kids are in fifth or sixth grade. Yet there is a growing body of evidence that puberty (for both girls and boys) in America is beginning earlier than in previous generations. Researchers are debating the phenomenon’s possible links to environmental chemicals, childhood obesity, and family stress. But regardless of cause, this trend means more and more kids are already well into puberty by the time sex education happens in school.

Dr. Louise Greenspan, a pediatric endocrinologist with Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco who is studying the causes and effects of early puberty, told a reporter from Youth Radio that making the transition easier for kids means bringing puberty education into schools earlier.

“I really feel like I’m on a mission now to make sure that people understand that teaching kids about puberty in fifth grade is way too late,” she said.

This school year, The Chicago Board of Education implemented a new sexual health policy that starts the conversation (beginning with the names of reproductive body parts and the difference between good/bad touching) in Kindergarten. It’s a big departure from the district’s previous sex-ed policy, in which older students were taught “abstinence as the expected norm.” Now, sex education in the district is tailored to each grade level.


NPR radio segment Puberty Is Coming Earlier, But That Doesn’t Mean Sex Ed Is
This past Fall, Youth Radio teen reporter Donisha Dansby visited some Bay Area schools, to listen in and find out what it’s like for kids who start puberty early — before it’s talked about in the classroom. One Bay Area fourth grader Youth Radio spoke to was six when she says she started getting underarm hair and wearing deodorant. She was nine when she started wearing a bra. At the time she talked to Youth Radio, she hadn’t yet received any puberty education at school — which left the conversation to her mom. “Honestly, it made me feel a little uncomfortable, but I did my best,” her mom says. “I just brought her home some bras and I said, ‘Here!’ And she put them on.”

To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDedspace and end it with #DoNowSexEd

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.

We encourage students to reply to other people’s tweets to foster more of a conversation. Also, if students tweet their personal opinions, ask them to support their ideas with links to interesting/credible articles online (adding a nice research component) or retweet other people’s ideas that they agree/disagree/find amusing. We also value student-produced media linked to their tweets like memes or more extensive blog posts to represent their ideas. Of course, do as you can… and any contribution is most welcomed.

More Resources

CDE resource Health Education Content Standards for California Public Schools
California has health education standards for each grade, including topics like hygiene and nutrition. Under the current standards, sex education does not begin until 5th grade.

Huff Post article Sex-Ed Needs K-12 Foundation Like Math, According To New Standards
In 2013, The Chicago Board of Education approved a new sexual health education policy that would start sexual health education starting in Kindergarten. “Clearly we won’t be talking about sexually transmitted infections in kindergarten,” said Stephanie Whyte, Chief Health Officer for Chicago Public Schools. “But we’re talking about ‘good touch, bad touch,’ my body, living things reproduce, family, feelings, bullying.”

NPR radio segment Like Girls, Boys Are Entering Puberty Earlier
Even though most of the research on earlier puberty has focused on girls, it appears that boys are also maturing faster than previous decades. A 2012 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that American boys are also entering puberty between six months and two years earlier than in earlier studies. The reasons why aren’t completely clear, but some scientists say obesity or estrogen-like chemicals in the environment may be to blame.

SF Gate article Youth Radio: College students reflect on 30 years of HIV/AIDS
It’s been over 30 years since the official discovery of HIV/AIDS, an disease which altered the conversation about safer sex and sex education in the United States. Youth Radio’s Asha Richardson talks to several California college students about the pros and cons of how they were educated about sex, and how it impacted their relationship choices as adults.

This KQED Do Now segment was produced in collaboration with Youth Radio, the Peabody Award-winning youth-driven production company headquartered in Oakland, California. This post was written by Teresa Chin at Youth Radio.

  • Dezha

    I feel like it depends on the kid as and the environment. But I think that kids should know what’s going to happen to them. Especially girls, so that they can be prepared

    • amanda sauvie

      I completely agree. I remember the young girls who got picked on because they developed before the other girls.

  • Masa✿

    I personally think that as it is an uncomfortable topic for most to discuss, that sex education should not be a class especially at such a young age. I think parents have a right to tell their child this information rather than schools telling their children without taking permission from the parents.

  • Juwan

    I think they are teaching it too slow now what about the kids who have older siblings who talk about it and the younger sibling start to think its wise to go and act on it out of curiosity. There are a lot of people who start puberty early like me who get very curious about the opposite sex and lots of people act on that curiosity. So instead of doing something stupid to find out the difference when they could just be taught at a earlier age

  • t’ohno’pain

    i think that teaching this at 5th grade is just the right time for them to start teaching this. i think this way because i was taught this around 6th grade and it was at the right time. but now that kids are hitting puberty earlier maybe we should move it back a year or so. the average age now for a boy hitting puberty now is around 10 (as explained on the link). so at that age i think around 5th grade would be the right time to be teaching this. but it is also the parents responsibility to talk and get engaged with there kids about this. its a big time in there life’s. so that is my opinion on this.

  • Oryonah Ross

    Children now days are starting puberty too early. These days “the norm” is considered to be around 7-8. i remember when 11-13 years old was normal. This is called precocious puberty. When children start puberty too early it doesn’t give their recipients of the early start time to grow into their body’s which will spark health problems when they are older. This condition may include social stresses to come with the early start as well.

  • Samantha_M

    I believe sex education should be taught at a much younger age. Young girls and boys are developing a lot faster than they used to. Girls and Boys body’s are developing, in many ways, such as growing taller and growing in other areas, getting armpit hair and needing deodorant. They need to know how to take care of their bodies since they are growing faster. Schools not teaching sex education at an earlier age, make parents have to talk about whats going on with their kids bodies. Some people have parents that wont talk to their kid about it, so how are they supposed to know whats going on with their bodies? We need sex education to start sooner so kids can start getting informed and they don’t have to worry if they are normal or not.

    above is an article stating that sex ed also isn’t teaching us enough and what we really need to know and discuss.

  • Pat Tuck

    The topic of when to teach children sex education is a very controversial topic. I don’t think schools are teaching it too late, I don’t think they should be teaching it at all. I personally think that it is a parent’s responsibility to teach their children about sex and puberty and not a school. A child should be much more comfortable when discussing this with their parents as opposed to at school where the talk would be much more awkward. Kids would also be more mature when discussing it with their parents, as opposed to sitting and giggling with their friends as their teacher shows them where babies come from. There is a degree of morality that needs to be taught along with learning how all the parts work that our school systems will not teach. That is the parent’s job. This is a sensitive topic that a child would benefit much more from learning from the people who care about them most.

  • Katie Wilson

    Yes, sex education is taught too late by schools. I believe that sex education should begin anywhere from
    kindergarten to second grade. Sex education happens before that, but younger
    boys and girls cannot comprehend development correctly. Sex education should be
    taught by parents as early as possible, so that if their child develops early,
    they will understand that it is normal. The earlier kids learn, the smarter
    they will be about choices growing up (such as contraception, risks, sexually
    transmitted diseases, etc.) Source:
    Even if you don’t teach your child about sex early, they should at least learn about development and maturity so that when their school does teach them, they don’t feel as uncomfortable.

  • Chaunjon’a Verdun-Jennings

    I believe you should start in Kindergarten but start really slow then gradually work your way up.

  • CJofGrove

    Schools do their best to educate children about the physical changes in their bodies. I do not think that there is a proper time to be taught about such, as every child will begin these changes at radically different points in their lives. Earlier rather than later sounds like the right approach, but a perfect time frame can never be determined. The mere fact that it is taught at all is good enough, because whether or not the child has hit puberty yet, they will have many questions answered for them, whether they had had them yet or not.

  • Chase L

    Havard did a study finding out how many parents actually got around to talking with their kids about safe sex practices. The study found that more than 40 percent of parents don’t talk to their kids about this topic until after their kids are already sexually active.” “I think parents today want to talk to kids but they don’t know where to begin,” said Dr. Mark Schuster, chief of general pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Boston and a co-author of the study.” Sex education needs to change to meet the needs of the evolving population, but at a younger it needs to be focus on the development of the body and less about sex.

  • Austin Redes

    yes, sex education is taught to late. i believe sex education should begin much earlier. . Experts say that sex education is key to ensuring the percentages stay down.,0,281090.story?page=2

  • Hannah

    I think that they are discussing puberty a little too late. I do think that in this day and age boys and girls are developing more quickly. Not just the teachers should be talking and informing the kids about what could go wrong, what happens, and how to handle the changes, it should mostly come from their parents. Parents shouldn’t just assume that just because their kids are still acting like kids and playing with toys that they aren’t hitting puberty. Just because children hit puberty doesn’t mean they aren’t going to stop acting like children at the age of 8! Teachers ad parents need to just come to terms with their child changing and to be their for them when it happens and prepare themselves in advance to have steps to take to get the point across. Also, just because boys and girls are hitting puberty doesn’t mean that sex should have anything to do with it! They are way to young and by talking about it it will just make them curious, so when they hit middle school age, that’s when they should introduce the health hazards, but definitely not in elementary school.

  • Beezer Kitty

    Sex always has and always will be an awkward subject to talk about. If the parents don’t feel comfortable enough with the idea of explaining the way sex works and what will be happening to their body, then they should take the initiative to find somebody who will. Children are hitting puberty at a much earlier age so that means they will be having sex earlier, IF they don’t get the proper education on the subject. Some will argue that it’s the parent’s job to educate their kids, others will argue that if the parents don’t want to teach it it should fall onto the school’s shoulders. I think children should look to both. If they feel comfortable enough to talk to their parents then GREAT! But if they don’t feel comfortable with that, then the school should provide the basics.

  • gehresj

    Schools that delay sex education until fifth grade or later are not preparing children for the changes that are to come but rather providing an explanation for what has already started. New studies show that since the 1920’s the average age for girls to start puberty has dropped from 14.6 years to 10.5 years in 2010. While girls are traditionally viewed as beginning puberty earlier, the age of boys going through puberty has also dropped. If the age at which children begin to develop secondary sex characteristics is changing then it only makes sense to start education sooner so they will be prepared for what is to come. This does not mean that elementary age kids should learn about sex or STDs/STIs but rather information pertaining to their gender. “Sex ed” should start with each of the sexes learning how to take steps to be healthy and hygienic as individuals.

  • Ty Sweno

    I think that they should start teaching sex ed at an earlier age. Students are starting to try things at a younger age and with that they are taking the risks before they are even aware of the risks. like in what this article has to say students are starting to have sex before they even reach the age of 13. When i took the sex ed class i was in the seventh grade and honestly i don’t think that was early enough because i was starting to become curious about the subject about sex back when i was in middle school. What i think they should do is start teaching the class in the 4th grade so that kids know the risks of having sex and either keeping them from having sex or at least have them use the protection so that they are not stuck with a child at the age 15 when they are still just a child themself.

  • CJofGrove

    Schools do their best to educate children about the physical changes in their bodies. I do not think that there is a proper time to be taught about such, as every child will begin these changes at radically different points in their lives. Earlier rather than later sounds like the right approach, but a perfect time frame can never be determined. The mere fact that it is taught at all is good enough, because whether or not the child has hit puberty yet, they will have many questions answered for them, whether they had had them yet or not. I suppose all that matters is that the material taught remains neutral and completely unbiased, because many parents are narrow minded and do not take lightly to their children being taught something other than what they believe.

  • Dorothy Dollinger

    I believe that 5th grade is the right time to have kids learn about sex education. Teaching kids before that would be too early. Kids shouldn’t need to learn about these things before they are 10 or 11 years old.

  • the_real_david_bowie

    While sex education is a tricky subject I don’t feel as though we should give it as much weight as it has. Kids may be hitting puberty earlier but I don’t think that should be as much of the reason as it is I believe that instead of it being a schools job(they should still teach it) it should just be a supplement to parents teaching it. I think maybe we should find out why kids are hitting puberty faster before trying to make it a normal thing.

    link because I have to :

  • rocky_seeley

    I think that teaching about sex education in the 5th grade is too late for the students. Personally I had learned at an early age from my older siblings so when it did happen before i learned about it in school i had some ideal of what was going on. These days the normal is considered around 7-8, but i remember when it was 11-13 was normal. It seems to most people that it is too early to be letting these young childern in on what is going to happen to their body. They may reconize things are changing with their body but don’t know what to do to pin point it. The biggest fear about teaching them this is that it may teach young people about sex or sexuality will cause them to have sex or be more interested in the oppiste sex. My parents never had a problem with me having more guy friends then girl friends because they raised me the right way and all of this depends on how the child was brought up and how they learn to respect themselves and other.

  • Mark Smith

    Kids should be taught about puberty as young as possible. They should learn about the changes that will occur in their body before they enter puberty. They need to have the facts before their bodies start to change so that when they do, kids know what is happening and understand the risks associated with sex. with the age that kids are entering puberty decreasing, this means sex ed may have to start in schools as early as kindergarten or first grade.…should-sex-education…/star…‎

  • Zach Johnson

    In my opinion I think that informing children at an earlier age is a good idea but should it be the teacher that tells the child or should it be their parents. This is obviously becoming more of an issue as the link below will also explain but I don’t think this a teacher’s place to tell a child. A child is more likely to listen to their parent’s about something like this then a teacher, plus the child has to know that a parent is there to help in this time of change or the results could be undesirable for both parties.

    Article link:

  • Chewy_5683

    People need to understand its never too early to talk to your kids about things that will take place in their lives very often in the future. I started growing armpit hair at the age 7 and breasts at the age 8, I remember wearing a low shirt to dinner one day and had to go into the bathroom with my grandma so she could tell me what stretch marks were. I thought some weird disease was eating at my skin, making it tare all over the place. this was the year before i started 4th grade, I had absolutely no idea what was going on.
    WARNING: Please don’t read this if you are immature and don’t have the stomach to reality.
    People may think that this age is too young for teaching this stuff but it’s not! ‘MILLIONS’ of children are sexually abused at a very young age, and they need to know if somebody is doing something like that your child needs to know it is not right and he/she needs to report it immediately. it may help save a life too, you never know how far people will go.

  • Madysen League

    I think they should stick with 5th grade for the “sex” talk but should maybe go to 3rd grade for girls and do a puberty/period talk.

  • Sahar G.

    In my opinion, i dont think that it is necessary for kids to be taught sex ed at an earlier age. I personally was never taught sex ed and did just fine with my parents just telling me. Many students would feel uncomfortable learning this at an earlier age and i personally dont think they would be mature enough to handle it.

  • Alanna

    I think that it is the parents’ job to discuss sex-ed to their kids if they are starting puberty at such a young age. That way the school isn’t teaching them for the first time but giving them the health explanation.

  • Sarah T.

    I think that starting to teach kids in 5th grade about sex education is a good time to teach them. Starting it earlier is way to early for kids, if their parents think that their child needs to learn about it earlier then they can talk to their child about it.

  • Jalen Lewis

    I think schools are teaching students about sex education too late because some start to develop early and don’t quite know what is happening to their bodies. It is important kids know necessary information so they can avoid being abused sexually and will know when they need to “take care” of their problems appropriately.

  • Albany McComb

    I do believe schools are teaching sex ed too late. Almost every girl I know started their period before 5th grade. I don’t believe they should be taught about sex, but definitely about puberty. My mother and I are not close so I had no one to talk to about anything. It would’ve been easier for me if school would have taught more about puberty.

  • Annabelle

    It’s been known for a while that girls start puberty earlier than they did in the past, sometimes as young as 7 or 8. (SF Gate article) but i believe that that having sex ed in 5th grade is fine, that’s when a majority of children now have the maturity to sit through the class, those ones who are worried about it or wondering about it i believe should talk to their parents, their parents should notice their children going through a change.

    this article says that the cons of having it in school are:
    – Students may still be subject to embarrassment or excitable by subject matter. This can make for out of control classrooms if students take to laugh or make inappropriate comments.
    – Most education is taught as a brief interlude in physical education or health class. This is not enough time to relate effectively to serious material.
    – Often, sexual education can go against moral or religious beliefs of an individual. Many schools do not teach abstinence-only, but to teach how to have sex safely, while many of the religious and family stress marriage before intercourse.
    – Sex education is often seen as a “recreational” course and not a serious issue (this is a direct correlation with the fact that there are no grades or scores to be derived from class).
    – Teachers are not always adequately trained to teach sexual education and may violate their own beliefs or morals on the subject rather than continuing with the facts.
    – The attitudes of parents, educators and religious leaders in the community can make the stuff that vary from state to state or even school-to-school.

  • ellielynn

    I believe that Sexual Education is being taught way too late for students to fully comprehend the stages they have already gone through. Most students are having to be helped by their parents and other adults because they have well surpassed the stages of puberty by the time they begin learning about it in school. Parents don’t like to believe all the reality of what is going on with students as they’re changing because parents get upset with a simple poster on the wall in the hallways. Students need to be aware of all thats going on around them and need to know extreme cases and minor cases of things being learned in SexEd.
    The early ages of Puberty need to be taught way earlier.

  • Trey Sullivan

    To me, it seems like schools are starting sex education too late. With kids starting puberty earlier, the grade that sex ed is started in should be lowered to match. As more and more school systems across the U.S. start to require sex earlier, hopefully states will start to follow.

  • John Clark

    I think sex ed should be taught earlier. Children are starting puberty earlier than ever. We need to ease them in to the adault life. Obama said, “to provide age-appropriate sex education, science-based sex education in schools. “

  • Shane Myers

    While sex education is a tricky subject I don’t feel as though we should give it as much weight as it has. Kids may be hitting puberty earlier but I don’t think that should be as much of the reason as it is I believe that instead of it being a schools job(they should still teach it) it should just be a supplement to parents teaching it.

  • Kat VanHuis

    i feel that learning about puberty and taking sex ed at an earlier age would be a good thing. girls and guys both that i know have started going through puberty soon then even when my parents and older people did. studies show that for girls, being over-weight or over eating is a cause of early puberty. for boys, its still pretty un-none. girls and guys shouldn’t have to wake up one morning before a day at school in 5th grade and wonder whats happening to there body’s.

  • Josh Knight

    I believe sex ed should be taught in the 5th grade, because that is about the time kids go through puberty. I also think the parents should tell them about puberty and sex, because schools only talk about certain things in sex ed and the stages of puberty, schools tend to leave some information out. So talk to your parents about that stuff before you start.

  • daniel j. eberhart

    Yes, i believe that it is a good idea to teach kids Sex Ed at a early age, but i think it should be integrated in over time. I agree with the new policies that The Chicago Board of Education has set this year, starting in kindergarten they will implement a intro to sex ed, to “start the conversation.” It is important to educate kids because “the onset of signs of puberty before age 7 or 8 in girls and age 9 in boys — can be physically and emotionally difficult for kids and can sometimes be the sign of an underlying health problem.” It is best interest of children that we educate them at an early age, to help prevent any unnecessary damage.

  • jfk

    no sex ed is not being taught to late. if they teach sex ed students will not be able to comprehend the information they are given. they will be even more confused. acording to health news they say most kids can barely comprehend the basics by second greade. to tyech sex ed earlier would not be a wise choice. acording to the website for the following link kids are just begining the basics in third grade

  • dwiltse96

    the huff post says that you should start teaching puberty in kindergarten and i think that is a little to early. I believe that in 2nd grade kids would be able to handle and understand what they are talking about. this just seems like when most kids are beginning puberty at this age anyway.

  • Matt Cleland

    Yes, schools are teaching sex ed to late because the earlier they teach it the more they will learn and be ready right when puberty starts.Teaching sex ed when they are younger will make kids want to ask questions and talk about sex ed in there life as they get older. They will then talk about it more from teens to adolescence.

  • Brenton Jakeway

    In the SF Gate article it states that “it’s been unclear whether boys also go through puberty earlier.” in which case i dis agree that the education program should be moved up, many of the children will not be mature enough to handle the class.

    “Few educators are formally trained to use gender-specific teaching techniques” is stated in the article below meaning that it wont be easy for them to separate the children and teach them at different times.

    If more teachers were trained to separate the children, they could teach the classes at different times to accomadate with the needs of everybody.

  • NateDawg

    I believe that sexual education should be taught in two stages. Studies show that kids as young as 6 begin experiencing puberty; girls can even begin to have their period at this age. Traditionally, girls begin puberty before guys, but more recent studies show that boys are entering puberty 6 months to 2 years earlier, supported at This is why the first “stage” of sex-ed should be taught in 1st grade, and be tailored to fit the physical maturity level of the kids in that age group. This first stage would include information about body hair growth, periods, and developing feelings towards the opposite gender. Despite contrary belief, teaching sexual education at a younger age doesn’t actually cause kids to have sex at a younger age, but rather prevents ignorance and delays sexual conduct. The website exemplifies and elaborates this research. The second “stage” should be taught in 5th grade, and include a more traditional curriculum. This stage would cover topics such as sexual organs, sexual feelings, and sexual activity.

  • andrewbeyer

    I believe that sex ed needs to be taught in 4thor 5th grade because by 6th grade kids are well into puberty and they need information sooner than they are teaching it now

    • Kenny Swam

      I kind of agree with what you’re saying, but is teaching sex ed to children that do not have mature enough minds okay? At a young age, kids are more likely to try different things and be more like an adult. If young children learn about sex ed at an early age, they would be more influenced or tempted to have sexual intercourse. Their minds aren’t aged enough to understand the consequences that might happen to them during and after sex, even though they might feel uncomfortable discussing this. I think 5th grade is a good time to introduce sex ed because they are not too young or too old to understand about this.

  • Derek Bice

    I think that the age where Sex Ed starts now is a good spot. Where I live, we started in 4th grade, and that was when most kids were starting to show signs of puberty. I’m sure there are kids who start puberty at a very young age like 6 or 7 years old, but most kids are going to start seeing the first signs at around 8 or 9 years. To start earlier just because some kids show early signs of puberty would just be foolish.

  • Jeremy Hiatt

    I think the age that they are starting Sex Ed. in the schools where I live is the perfect age. Its briefly touched on in fourth, but more in depth during fifth and sixth grade. Even so some kids may hit puberty at a much earlier age, but I feel if this does happen it should lie on the parents to be the ones to teach the child about whats going on with their body. Precocious puberty which is when puberty occurs before the average times for both genders is something that should be left to the parents as it could have negative effects on the child’s overall health (mental and physical) and therefore should be kept in privacy.

  • Nick visconti

    I think that sex education should be taught by a parent at home in a more comfortable environment than that of a school. Kids may be distracted or more inclined to Not take education seriously around their friends. Also, I believe that sex education should begin much earlier at home and it can be supplemented with more learning at school when a kid is older. To begin around the 5th grade would be ideal in my opinion. With early puberty becoming more common I think that parents should evaluate their situation and start when they think it’s right.

  • Ally Dittenber

    I do think that students should be taught about puberty at an earlier age but not too early where they might feel awkward or worried about everything. I think that 3rd or 4th grade is a good time to learn.

  • Randi

    I personally think that kindergartens wouldn’t understand what they were learning, if they were to, so why not wait until they are older?

  • Tony P.

    I began sex-ed in 5th grade, but only got through vocab, and basic anatomy. Every grade since then I was reintroduced to the same material. It wasn’t until just now in 9th grade that I learned the big picture. I’m mostly fine with this format, except I think people should learn the majority in 7th or 8th grade, rather than 9th. Kids should know whats going to “happen” before, rather than during or after. I don’t think that they should really learn much when they’re little, but be introduced to it at an early age.

  • Maddy

    I think that the puberty part of sex ed should be taught around 4th or 5th grade, but sex shouldn’t actually be taught until around 7th or 8th grade, because most kids aren’t mature enough to hear about it before them.

  • Maya and Clare

    Sex ed is begun to be taught around the age of 9. If kids continually mature earlier and earlier than are we going to keep teaching it sooner? What if kids start maturing around the age of 5? 4? That’s way too early for them to be needing to think about how to have safe sex! They’re still thinking about recess. There are always special instances like the one above with the 6 year old, and in that case if the parents think its necessary, they can explain needed information. Things like body hygiene. Your body does change hugely in those 5 or so years. But I don’t any 6 year old is thinking about reproduction, boys still have cooties at that point.

  • Beverly F.

    Puberty is beginning sooner in many boys and girls. This is not true for everyone, but it is starting to be the norm. Starting sex ed in 6th grade is definitely too late, but I feel like the Chicago Board of Education is pretty extreme in starting to teach kids the information in kindergarten. I agree with Nick in that kids wouldn’t really pay much attention to these lessons. They’re 5 and 6 years old children; all they want to do is play. Perhaps starting the puberty portion of sex ed in 4th grade is a good choice. That’s what we did in my elementary school and it worked out fine. Everyone had the information about what would be going on in their bodies a few years before it actually started happening. Kids starting puberty earlier than 4th grade is fairly rare and a little worrisome. If this is the case, the parents should be more involved and can help their children deal with the changes.

  • Asha

    Sex education should be discussed at 5th and 6th grades so they don’t get scared when puberty does happen if the parents aren’t open about it. We should also carry it out to add on more and more each year so then teens know the risk of having sex at the age they are before committed into more.
    They shouldn’t start in kindergarten because the kids wont know what they’re talking about. We should keep it the same and be available to teens along with open parents.

  • Amjid KW

    I think that a good place to start teaching sex ed is at puberty and you should start being thought in 6th grade. 6th grade is a good place to start teaching you about puberty because then you are prepared for the changes your body is going through and how you can handle your emotions. kids should start learning about how your body works and sex ed at 7th or 8th grade because you need to be mature enough to take what your teacher is talking about seriously and be able to comprehend it.

  • George F.

    I think that sex-ed is taught at an good time right now at 4-5th grade because that’s when kids are to start maturing. With puberty varying in time for person to person it would be best to teach them at home when their parents think their child is starting puberty. In school when they teach it the kids because they are young will mess around and won’t take it seriously around their friends while at home they are more private. If you teach it too early the kids will not understand it and then it could lead to more issues at a younger age.

  • Swapnik K.

    I think sex ed should be taught when the kid’s parents think they are ready. Some children mature faster than others, and the parents know them best. Most kids would probably learn it around 4th or 5th grade and some would learn it later on when their parents think they’re ready. It woulds also make it less awkward for the children learning it from their parents instead of a stranger. The parents could also choose to let the school teach it if they are not comfortable doing it.

  • justin

    I think that sex education is okay at the time that it was already taught at, around fifth grade. On the other hand, slightly simplified topics could also be taught at an earlier time, around third to fourth grade, but any earlier than that could be useless, as children may not be as concentrated at the time. I also feel that having sex education at kindergarten to second grade is far too early. Additionally, we cannot ignore the parents in such situations, as if a child does enter puberty prematurely, the parents are also somewhat responsible in teaching them.

  • TA^2

    I believe that sex education should continue to be taught at
    the grade levels it is currently being taught at. This starts in 4th
    grade and continues on into high school. Many kids do not need to be exposed
    and given this type of knowledge at such an early age. The time at which sex
    ed. is beginning to be taught in schools is appropriate for the students mind
    sets and maturity. If it were to begin earlier, children may be confused or not
    wish to approach the subject later on in life. The simple details which are
    taught at this age are sufficient for whatever needs the students may have.
    Even if there are some “early bloomers”, their parents are there to help them.

  • Chuck M.

    I think sex ed should be taught at fifth your sixth grade because that’s usually the grade when your body starts to grow and usually you start wondering if your body is healthy. Too late you already had questions answered and don’t wonder about you body as much. Too early, your body hasn’t fully developed. in the environment, I think the education should be taught in a friendly open conversation kind of environment. With an open friendly environment students would likely to talk about the topic being more actively involved.

  • Kaleb Heasley

    I think that maturation should be offered for all ages and it should be up to the parents when they should take it. Talking about It at home is a lot more personized but schools should still offer it. It should be available for all ages so anyone could take it if they need too.

  • Alma Lancaster

    I think if the child needs help earlier then the parents should help them

  • Hyaden Beck

    I think that sex ed has a pretty good system already. I think that it shouldn’t be the school’s responsibility to teach these topics. Kids should be able to talk to their parents about these topics. Unfortunately, some parents are either too nervous, or too scarred to talk to their kids about these uncomfortable topics. This is where the school should come in, teaching basic, general sex ED topics in gender-divided classes.

    I am amazed that some kids just don’t figure most of it out from other kids at school…

  • ena muharemovic

    I think maturation should stay I’m grades 5-6, with parents acknowledging what they’re teaching their children. If parents don’t want their children learning about it, they should teach their children themselves. Other than that, I think maturation should stay at the teaching age it is at now. -muharemovic

  • Skylar d.

    I think it is fine as it is. No one cared when they were kids at my school. They should keep it the same.

  • Shelbie Hilton

    @KqedEdspace I would say 3rd grade is a little too early. I mean I remember what it was like in 5th grade just going to the thing. No one was really taking it seriously everyone was just giggling. When I was in 3rd grade I do remember being excited already to learn about it. But it was kinda weird because in 3rd and 4th grade I already knew about it. Not too much just the basics. I would say that the maturation program is important for elementary. Some parents wouldn’t even think about talking to their kids about it. I would say that they should just automatically teach it either in 4th or 5th.

  • Tate W.

    I think that we should OFFER maturation programs around 4th grade and have the kids parents make the choice if they want them to go or not, and then do the same thing we are doing now with 5th grade maturation programs.

  • Zach Shuman

    i think that maturation in Utah is fine in fifth grade but we could give parents the option to go earlier to the program. Plus Utah is a very religious state and has there own rules at home that effect their lives. An example of this is Mormons think at eight a child is old enough to make their own choices about life at eight.

  • Julian

    I do believe that schools are teaching sex-ed too late, because puberty usually begins in 6th-8th grade, learning about it in 8th grade won’t help most people. In 5th grade, we learned the basic vocab and anatomy, but everything else was just being reintroduced in the grades after. People learning about the ‘big picture’ in 9th grade is too late, people need to learn it in 6th grade at the latest, because things start happening earlier than 9th grade. Kids need to know what’s going to happen before, rather than during, or even after for some. Sure, they might not be mature and laugh about things, but better they learn earlier than later.

  • Adanya G

    Sex-ed should be taught around the 4th or 5th grade with parent’s permission. This way, kids can go into middle school and have knowledge of basic anatomy, childbirth, etc. If schools wait too long to teach sex ed, kids will already have had their own ideas about sex because of their maturity. I think it works better if you mature with knowledge rather than be clueless and learn things all at once. However, when students get to be in the 8th or 9th grade there should be a separate class where they learn about relationships and decisions about abstinence, safe sex, pregnancy, etc.

  • Isaiah G

    I believe that sex ed is being taught at the correct time. Yes children might be physically mature but that does not mean they are mentally mature. Kids at a young age will know what sex and its effects are through school. In fact they might know more than what they will find in sex ed from day to day conversations. The majority of explicit teaching will be learned in 9th grade. I think this is an appropriate time for children to learn this material. Any sooner would be useless because most children don’t begin to get this extent of interest in the opposite sex until this stage in life.

  • mario and tommy

    I believe that starting sex ed in 4th-5th grade is too early. schools should start teaching it around 6th or 7th grade to get kids familiar with their bodies and what is happening with them. because in 4th and 5th we learned basic vocab which is fine but they started to teach us the big stuff in 9th grade which is when we are at a mature stage and things will really sink in now that we are in high school. I also think it should be the students choice whether or not they want to learn it in the school or with their parents, so they are most comfortable. lastly I think that kids should learn early enough so they have some knowledge but late enough that they are mature and have understanding of it.

  • MAC

    I think that sex needs to be taught earlier and differently. Currently schools are teaching about 4th or 5th grade but all they are teaching is how to stay abstinent not, how to have a safe sex life. Although its schools dreams to have all kids virgins until their mid 20s reality is that not all kids don’t want to get laid. Most kids do stuff just to say they did it and to get experience. The problem for kids is they do stuff and don’t use protection so they end up getting pregnant.

  • Charlie Nelson

    I have began sex-ed in fifth grade, which I think is the best age to start sex-ed. I believe that any age younger than eleven years old is to young to learn about sex-ed. It is necessary for people to learn about puberty from there parents and their schools before the age of eleven. In the end our school district is teaching sex-ed at the correct age.

  • Madelynn

    I think 4th grade would be a good time to start learning sex ed, in my elementary school we learned about the anatomy and how some of it functions but not to much. Most kids don’t hit puberty till around 5-6th grade and small stuff in 4th grade, we should know what will happen before it does, so we don’t panic. I think we should learn the anatomy in 4th grade and learn the more detailed things in 5th-9th grade, it would probably work better to learn it more spread out and more detailed the older you get since you understand certain things the older you get.

  • Rachel

    I think that kids should learn the basic anatomy in 3rd grade, puberty in 4th grade, and actually sex in 5th grade because the earliest a kid usually starts puberty is in 4th grade. Teaching kids about sex in 4th grade or earlier is tearing the poor children’s innocence from them, plus they probably won’t take it seriously. In 5th grade, they may have enough maturity to understand the seriousness of what they are being taught.

  • Miles and Ram

    I think, what we do now is fine. I learned what I needed to know at the time, which was simply what every thing is named. I think it’s important to understand why you shouldn’t be having sex in the near future, or, how to stop bad things from happening, in middle school. Besides, most middle school students know more about sex than what they’re being taught.

  • Erik Schultz

    I believe that around 5th grade is a good time to begin sex ed and continue learning about it until about middle school.

    • Bobbee Newbrook

      That is not good… that’s only a year, they need more teaching than that.

  • ZK

    I think we’re okay right now. In fact, I think that we focus on sex ed too much. There are many things that they reteach again and again in the schools. Right now, kids are introduced to the basics in 4th grade, and every year they add a little bit to their knowledge, and they finish up the sex ed course in their health classes, by focusing on the risks associated with having sex too early. I think that this is perfect, because the risks don’t usually apply on kids in elementary and middle school.

  • Lindsay L

    I began sex ed in 3rd grade, so this isn’t much a problem for me, but some schools don’t start until 5th or 6th grade which could be a problem. Some children have been starting puberty earlier which could also be a problem if you don’t know what’s going on. It could be a scary experience and it may cause the child to not want to tell their parents which could, again, be a problem. Since I learned it earlier, I was prepared for what was going to happen so it didn’t bother me as much, but I’m sure people my age that didn’t learn anything until 6th grade when they went to middle school, were a lot less ready for all the changes that were coming onto them. Kyle R and I think that sex ed should be introduced in 3rd grade and taught as a lesson in 4th grade. You’re young enough to let it sink in before anything happens to them.

  • Christy C.

    I started to learn to basics of sex-ed during 4th grade through school. And starting from then to 7th grade, I continued to learn the same basics at school, while learning the real thing from home with my parents. I think that the schools timing for sex-ed is fine, but I really think they should give the big picture, the real harm during 7th or 8th grade. Due to some high schools giving the option for whether to take physical ed or not, many won’t know the big picture. But making them learn at a very young age such as Kindergarten, is unacceptable. Not only will it introduce something that they shouldn’t really know at that stage, it’ll probably also cause more… little kids to start talking inappropriate things. Thus, leading up to parents and schools should thoroughly teach kids sex-ed. It would help the next generations lessen and be a better role-model, and won’t face the regrets that some would have to receive. Also, I think sexual harassment, and bullying would lessen as well.

    • Lindsay Tong

      I agree with the age appropriateness. Little children shouldn’t be introduced to things like sex-ed at so young. Plus, they wouldn’t even be able to comprehend the information.

  • Josh F, Vince P

    Yes we believe that sex ed is being taught to late. We are freshman in high school and most people have gone through puberty. We need to be taught earlier because we can learn we happens to the body we hit puberty. so if we learn it earlier we will be more prepared. I think it should be introduced at grade 4 and then get more into depth the older you get and stop after 8th grade because by then you know most of the information and your body starts to go through it.

  • Mihir

    I believe that sex ed should be taught at an earlier age, like 4th grade. Sooner or later, every kid figures out what sex is, so starting early will prevent kids from getting the wrong ideas about sex. Not all of it should be taught that year, but at least basic anatomy and puberty in 4th.

  • Alec Herndon

    I think that sex ed at an early age is good so you can be prepared for when you hit puberty you will ready for whats going to happen and will be more mentally stable at the time. But there is always that you wont be as focused when your younger and wouldn’t learn what you need to so I believe that it depends on who you are before you start to learn about sex.

  • Dustin

    I believe sex education should be tailored to the specific age group as they said was possible, although the teaching of sexual education is good around the age of puberty to let the child or pre-teen knows what is going on. Although teaching sexual education at kindergarten is over the top and way too young, also for the idea of sexual education being taught at the age of puberty is a good idea and I support it, in my opinion nothing more intimate should be explained or taught unless there is a problem with it.

  • Isabelle and Gabe

    We believe that sex ed is being taught at the right time because if it were taught at an earlier time in our lives we wouldn’t be mentally prepared for it. I think that the way we were taught, by slowly increasing the amount of information each time was a good way to start. If we were taught too early than it would be too much to handle for such young minds. In conclusion we argue that teaching sex ed too early can make kids mature at too young of an age.

  • Maggie

    Unlike many peoples popular belief, I think the teaching of the actual nitty-gritty Sex Ed should be left till about 7th or 8th grade. Through elementary, I agree that basic Anatomy and Puberty should be taught then. It is better to be late than never, but it would definitely be better to be knowledgeable about sex earlier.

  • Megan, Preston, Matt

    I think that sexual education should be implemented at a young age, starting with very basic education in kindergarten. Young sex ed would have information on things like personal space, good/bad touches, and the correct anatomical names for all body parts. This allows kids to grow up with respect and maturity towards their body. If they’re taught that the names for these things are bad or unnatural, it will lead to disrespect and discomfort with their own bodies. Starting around fourth grade, the focus of information should shift to puberty as well as beginning information on healthy relationships. Late middle school and high school should focus on STD’s, abuse, abstinence, healthy relationships and other more serious topics.

  • Josh C.

    Sexual education is taught at the correct time in my own opinion. I started taking it in sixth grade. I still at the moment have no use the information. Even though other people are maturing earlier schools should not have to adjust to shove information down their throats.

  • RZ for life!

    I feel that Sex Ed. is being taught to late in today’s school. with young people maturing faster than ever before, it is important to teach about the bodies anatomy at a younger age. The line should be drawn at what is to be taught. The children should not focus on the relationship or sexual portion, but more on the physical and mental changes about to come into play. They should be taught the more intimate aspects of the sexual education when they can comprehend and understand the seriousness that an intimate relationship brings.

  • Mikayla Henrie

    In my opinion, I think kids should start Sex Ed earlier because some kids hit puberty earlier and they need to know about it so that they aren’t confused when their bodies start changing. I can see how people might think that it would be a big issue with them ‘growing up’ too fast by learning these things, but I don’t think they’ll change because of it. That is, if they just learn the basics. However, I think that everyone should know almost everything by the time they’re in high school because if they are taking risks and end up getting pregnant or getting STDs they won’t know why it happened.

  • Josh

    I think this is interesting, I feel like I went through puberty pretty early. My parents had “the talk” at an early age with me. I think its the parents job to educate their kids especially with the vast amount of recourse available online. The school should offer it if the parents want it but I think its up to them on when their kids receive puberty and sex education. Kids all develop at a different age and rate, there is no set formula on when to teach kids this information. Its also important to recognize the signs as a parent, this link can help parents see and recognize some of those signs in their kids.

  • Brook Robinson

    I feel as if sex -ed should be taught in lower grades versus the higher grades so then the students can learn about their bodies ahead of time. I feel as if it is smarter for the younger generation to learn about their bodies versus when their are older and developing and have no clue what to do. I think kids should learn at a younger age due to they could learn about how their bodies interact. #DoNowSexEd

  • McKaylaC.

    As children are maturing earlier, it’s only right to teach about sex education earlier as well! I believe both schools and parents should teach their children about sex. Schools should cover the basics of puberty, and sex ed, as parents have too much of a bias on the subject. Parents should get more into personal standards they have set for their children.

  • Lea

    I don’t believe schools are teaching sex education too late. Just like other topics taught in school, sex ed should be developed appropriately and I believe it starts at home. Parents should inform their child(ren) about the information of their bodies changing because they should know when kids’ bodies are changing. It would be a safer environment for kids to learn about puberty and sex ed from their parents so they won’t feel awkward about learning it for the first time in school. Withholding information about sex and sexuality will not keep children safe; it will keep them ignorant. Children need to be aware of the bodily changes.

    The link below shows stats and info for how sex ed has been proven effective and ineffective.

  • John Diep

    #DoNow/ I believe that sex ed should be taught to adolescents during elementary school because it will help prevent teen pregnancy. In this generation, adolescents learning styles have become more versatile due to technology therefore it easier for them to be expose to sex whether it through the tv or computer.

    • Star

      Quite frankly I’d be more concerned over the possibility of kids getting STDs than pregnant…


    Since children are going through puberty faster than previous decades, both parents and school staff should educate them as soon as possible about these changes. There should also be sex ed courses in middle and high school, the period puberty reaches its peak. Children who don’t learn more about sex ed will not learn the consequences of sexual activity such as STDs and pregnancies.

  • bailey kartchner

    I honestly think that they should start doing the sex ed class a lot earlier then 5th grade. If kids are starting to hit puberty earlier then they should start learning about what their bodies are doing earlier. It would help them understand and save them from the possibilities of future problems. So that is just my idea about this topic

  • Isabella B

    I think sex-ed should be taught around fifth grade, and I certainly don’t think that kindergarten is an appropriate time to start talking about sex . No kindergartner needs to know detailed information about how babies are born or anything like that. I also think that parents need to buck up and talk to their kids about things like this instead of relying on school to do it.

  • E C

    The link below shows that the pregnancy rates are going down. This means that the classes are working. Students should be taught at an earlier age and learn it again in high school. I feel like parents and schools should teach sex education to kids.

  • Shirley Mei

    Schools should continue teaching sex-ed at the same pace as before, even with the recent generations maturing faster than the decades before. Even if the school isn’t teaching sex-ed to kids, children have multiple ways of finding out this information through parents or the internet. According to a report on “Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-old,” more than half of 7th–12th graders say they have looked up health information online in order to learn more about an issue affecting themselves or someone they know.

  • Lindsay Tong

    I think kids should receive sex-ed around 6th grade when they’re exposed to more people, bigger schools, and have more independence. They need to know what decisions to make and what our bodies are capable of. Although it might make more sense to teach kids when they’re in high school (9th-12th grade), the earlier the better. Teen pregnancy has been decreasing, unknowingly, and people should know the truth that sex-ed is beneficial. Parents and schools should both be informing kids about this information because a school’s job is to create a safe environment for the students. Sex-ed is one of these factors to creating a safe and aware environment. Parents should take part in their children’s puberty process because they are looked at for guidance and know their children the best. The conversation should be more comfortable with your parent and hopefully the child will take the information more seriously than at school.

  • Melinda S

    Personally, I think parents and schools should teach children about sex education

    • Rosa Chea

      Hello Melinda. I definitely agree with you that parents and schools should be willing to talk to children about sex education. It helps children to understand their bodies about being a male and a female. Of course, I think parents should talk one on one with their child about it and as well as the schools.
      You can click here if you want to:

  • Melinda S

    I believe parents should be able to talk to their young children about sex education, instead of school.

  • Lex

    I absolutely think that sex-ed should be started earlier. It doesn’t do much good to learn about what’s happening after you’ve already experienced it first hand.

  • Savannah

    I don’t think sex-Ed should be taught until 7th or 8th grade like it already is here in my town. I don’t think it needs to be taught any earlier. I think that maturation (which is what we call the class in like 6th or 7th grade where you learn the basics of puberty) is a good segue into sex education, and I think it’s all that kids need to know at that age. I think the actual concept of sex doesn’t need to be brought up until they are older and more ready for the subject.

  • R. Schmitz

    I took my first sex-ed class when I was in 9th grade, I believe. Though, I probably would have taken one earlier, but I had been enrolled in Christian schools for all of elementary and through 7th grade. Still, my mother had talked to me about it when I was still young, and I think that’s what should happen. I think it’s partially the job of the parents and partially the job of schools to teach sex-ed. It should also be taught early on, so they at least know what to expect or at least understand. I mean, they should just teach about puberty at an early age, but teach the other things until they’re a bit older.

  • Anna Betzer

    It’s silly that we’re arguing over when children are starting sex-ex, considering our sex-ed system is a joke anyway. We live in a society where girls don’t know what a hymen is and boys think the hymen is supposed to break when girls have sex.

  • Hunter Robertson

    Sex-ed is prime for the children in 5th-6th grade because they’re mature enough to understand. The changes of the body’s are very confusing for some children, and they don’t want to feel weird. They need to know that everyone is going through it.

  • ellie

    How about everybody realize they are still children. They shouldn’t be doing any sort of sexual acts. Why doesn’t every parent supervise and parental lock the internet, tv, music and whats going on in their home. Maybe then they wouldn’t be sending uneducated, sexually ridden, horny CHILDREN to school. Then there wouldnt even be a need to teach sex earlier and earlier. Not only did I go to a disgusting disgrace of a high school…my children are almost there. I am dealing with things right now 10 & 11 year olds should have no idea about. Most adults can’t even handle sex and relationships. I do my job as a mother. Why should i send them to school just so it can all go down the drain because some boys are little perverts? Again….parents….whats going on at the house. What are they watching? What are they listening to? Whats going on around them? By the age 14 they shouldnt be so sexually open or involved. It boggles my mind that sex and KIDS has to even be a topic. And it’s not the fact that puberty is coming sooner….it’s the fact that the world is all about nakedness and sex and adults have no thought or concern to shield a child from it. Everybody just says…”oh thats normal” “oh that happens everywhere”…how about we put a stop to it. It’s unacceptable and disgusting. I’ll never see how people think two 15 year olds having sexual relations is ok. I bet pedifiles are having a ball now a days.

    • Bobbee Newbrook

      They are going through puberty earlier. You do realize you get sexual urges without anything around to spark it. So there is no need to be Hitler for your kids as far as there access to the outside world. They will find porn if they want it.

  • Claurice Martinez

    This is a question I have been asking myself as well as other parents around me, and it comes to the answer of schools are teaching students a little to late on the human anatomy. Boys and girls start asking questions about their bodies as well as adults about why do girls have boobies and not boys? or why don’t i have what my brother has? these are questions that no one should be ashamed on answering. i feel if public schools would start teaching young children about the human body it would help better their understanding later on in teen years. so when children do hit middle school they must take another sex ed class that helps them understand how their bodies are changing again and that is where stds and pregnancy should come in.

  • Claurice Martinez

    i am not saying to give the okay on sexual interactions. but i am saying sex education should be a must one class in elementary one in middle school and one in high school. maybe if the youths today know more of the consequences when having sex not after they experienced and had to find out the hard way

  • JacobAndre

    Adult Entertainment is in expansion, that’s for sure. I enjoy it, and i am sure everyone does..

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  • joymccullough

    @KQEDEdspace Sex ed should be taught in elementary around the 4th grade and the reasoning behind that is because sex today in our society is publicized in many places and kids began to think about it , so therefore they need to know all about it before children decide to have it.The best way to talk to children on this topic is to be open, and down to earth, and I also think schools and parents should teach kids. @mrshephardAg

  • Valencia

    Sex education in the public school system should be required as a young teenager.
    Less then half of the U.S. requires or makes sex education mandatory in public
    schools. We cannot count on every single parent/guardian to sit down and have a
    thorough lesson on the sexual anatomy of the human body, and all the risks that
    go along with unprotected sex. Most parents are not experts of the reproductive
    system or in the subject and a lot feel like it is not important, or the
    child/teen does not want to listen. If it were required in school children
    would have no option and have to listen and participate in the lesson. Sex
    education in school could decrease the rates of teen pregnancies and sexual
    transmitted diseases. Sex education could also benefit teens to make wise
    choices and how to properly chose and use contraceptives. Overall it would
    protect the health of U.S. teens and lessen the chances of unplanned

  • DaisyOMP

    Many parents want to avoid talking about sex with their children. Hoping schools could help them avoid having the awkward talk about the topic. Since most kids are maturing and hitting puberty much more quickly, schools should speed up the sex education classes. This will allow the kids understand what their bodies and what the opposite sex’s body will be going through and what to expect. Although speeding up the sex education classes would be helpful, teaching them at a certain age would also be helpful. Teaching kids about sex-ed too young would not be appropriate. Their young minds would not be able to process much of it. I feel like 6th grade would be the most appropriate age. That’s when most youths bodies go under new changes and they experience new emotions. Whether it’s toward the opposite or same sex or even themselves. Youths should be able to know what is going on with their bodies and how they are supposed to feel towards these changes.


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