Sexuality education does not take place in a vacuum, but is closely interconnected with the environment and the specific experiences of children. For this reason, the specially designed Relationships and Sexuality Education programme – rse4schools – is context orientated and pays due attention to the needs of the learners. Children differ widely in their social and cultural background, which needs to be reflected adequately (there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach). Age, gender, social background, sexual orientation, developmental stage and the learner’s individual capacity are all factors of great influence.

This specially designed programme starts with the insight that students should be respected as partners in sexuality education. Their experiences should be taken into account, and their needs and wishes are of central importance when it comes to determining topics and issues to be covered by the rse4schools programmes.

Sexuality education is intrinsically linked to the atmosphere of the home, school and classroom. The cultivation of a supportive climate and culture in the home and school, and the collaborative and positive approach of the parent and teachers and the use of appropriate methodologies is key to the success of the rse4schools programme.

The rse4schools programme establishes a close cooperation with parents and the school community in order to build a supportive environment. The four-part programme, begins with a parent’s information session, in advance of the three, two-hour, classroom sessions. Parents are involved in sexuality education at school which means they will be informed before sexuality education takes place and they have opportunities to express their wishes and reservations. Schools and parents are mutually supportive in the process of continuous sexuality education. The individual needs of schools, and/or parents, is supported with an array of online resources, and the option of a series of talks for parents or workshops.

Theoretical Approach

The rse4schools programme focuses on the development of students’ ‘higher-order’ thinking. A method that promotes the learners to go beyond the mere recall of information and to develop a deeper understanding of topics involved, to be more critical about evidence, to solve problems and to make reasoned judgments and decisions rather than jumping to immediate conclusions. Being an effective sexuality educator is about facilitating learning, assisting the contextualisation of information to students in an age appropriate manner, by affording students opportunities to explore and develop their own personal views and perspectives. This is achieved by providing a classroom where students feel free to question without any negative reactions from their peers or their teachers and by using strategies that connect concepts lead students through the process of how to connect one concept to another. By doing this the educator guides them to connect what they already know with what they are learning. Thus, helping the student to make connections whenever it is possible, and help them gain a greater depth of understanding.

Higher-order thinking skills include critical, logical, reflective, metacognitive, and creative thinking. It means encouraging students to elaborate on their answers and talk about what they are learning, asking parents to reinforce this at home by asking the right questions that make students explain their answers in more detail, or to answer their child’s question with more a detailed response.

What the programme is, and is not

The rse4schools programme is not designed to cover all aspects of sexuality education. The Interim Curriculum and Guidelines require school-age children to participate in several years of personal development education

The information on this website is meant to serve as a guideline only. Each child or adolescent develops and asks questions at their own pace. We respect that families differ in spiritual beliefs, culture, and values. Choose the information that best fits you and the values of your family.