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Appeal Should Be Positive, Not Negative
The child learns to do things by doing them. Since the aims of our educational efforts are to promote the development of the child to the fullest use of his capacities, in ways that will insure the greatest amount of satisfaction compatible with his living harmoniously with other people, we must guard first of all against laying the emphasis upon what he must not do.
Educational Effort
Sex education, like all character education, is peculiarly an individual matter. Long before it is possible to deal with a group of children, before they have acquired a common language and before they can identify themselves with a group of other children.
During The Early Years Education Is Indirect
During this period, sex education, like character education in general, should come with a minimum of information or appeal to reason. So far as the child is concerned, he should not recognize that what he receives is specifically related to sex, or for that matter, is specifically related to his education.
In This Early Period Sex Is For The Child A Family Affair
Ideas regarding sex should not be acquired in complete isolation; they cannot be kept in a compartment by themselves. And the feelings or impulses which the facts of sex must later involve will in any case over-flow into all aspects of life and interests.
Curiosity And Concern Should Be Set At Rest
To the young child, curiosity about sex or about the origin of new organisms, like all his other curiosities, is perfectly ingenuous. It should be met without any reserve whatever and without any emotional prejudice or coloring. Whatever he wants to know, it is proper for him to know just as far as he can understand.
Facts And Emotions Should Be Dealt With Together
The phenomena of reproduction and sex, as part of the child's environment, exert an important influence in the development of his behavior, for he must constantly adjust himself to what is going on around him, to what people say and think, to what people expect of him and of each other.
Feelings Associated With Sex Should Be Diffused
The first information which the child gets concerning sex differences and facts of reproduction is normally connected with his own person and the persons of the immediate members of the home.
Physical And Mental Health Are Fundamental
The sexual life of the individual is but one of many expressions of the physiological and psychical forces that constitute life as a whole. A normal development of the sexual life is possible only as the entire life is normally conditioned and trained.
Sex Education Considers Society
The ideals and purposes which we seek to cultivate must be based upon the actual needs and potentialities of the individual. The end results must be both attainable and satisfying to the personality. At the same time the conduct which is to come out of our training must be acceptable to the enlightened demands of the community.
Sex Education Is A Progressive Process
Whether from the point of view of habit formation and development of attitudes, or from the point of view of the acquisition of knowledge, the education of the child with respect to sex, like education in general, must be a prosess of continuous adjustment dependent upon the development of his mentality, his emotions, and his experiences.
Guidance Must Be Exercised By Parents
The principle that the child should be allowed the fullest freedom of observation and expression does not imply that he is to be left to himself to work out his own salvation. The spontaneous expressions, questions, and experimentation must serve his parents or teachers as an index to what interests him.
Parents Need To Be Trained
The many things which the infant or young child needs to have done for him, both for his physical welfare and his eventual adjustment with respect to sex and other problems arising out of our social life, must be done for him by those in most direct touch with him during this period, that is, the parents, and especially the mother.
Supplementary Biological Information For Parents
The body of every plant and of every animal consists of one or more masses of the living substance, called protoplasm, together with more or less non-living matter enclosed within or surrounding the protoplasm. The single mass of protoplasm, whether it is enclosed within a distinct wall or not, is called a cell.
Sexual Reproduction
Sexual reproduction occurs among plants as well as among animals and among the lowest forms of life as well as the highest. Under certain conditions two cells, that is, two independent individuals, meet, unite into one, and then this new cell, consisting of protoplasm derived from two preexisting individuals, becomes the new generation.
Conditions Of Development
The single cell which is the beginning of a new life, whether it is an independent individual, or a spore, or a fertilized egg, can develop into a complete plant or animal only in the presence of certain conditions. Like a living being in any later stage, this cell must have water, food, and oxygen.
The Evolution Of Infancy And Parenthood
The dependence of the new individual carries with it the very elaborate development of special organs and special instincts on the part of the parent. These have to do with the early period of the individual's life, and with the mutual relations between parent and offspring. Every degree of this dependence may be found among back-boned animals.
Germ Plasm And Soma
As stated on page 75, the essential fact of the sexual process, from a biological viewpoint, is the union of two germ cells or gametes. Among the lowest plants and animals these conjugating cells are formed out of cells that cannot be distinguished from the other cells of the body.
Secondary Sexual Characters
Among animals in which the behavior of the two sexes is different, even though the eggs are still fertilized in the water, there is in some respect a better adaptation to life.
Development Of The Individual
As stated on page 73, the individual begins life as a single cell. In the case of human beings and other higher animals and plants this is a fertilized egg-cell. Immediately after fertilization this cell divides into two, each of these divides again, and so on, the number of cells doubling until several hundred are formed.
Although the fact of resemblance between parents and offspring has been known and utilized by civilized man for many centuries, it is only within the past generation that enough has been learned of the mechanism of reproduction and development to enable us to explain some of the outstanding facts.
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