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ISEX – Let’s start talking about Comprehensive Sexuality Education at school

We immediately believed in the importance of bringing Comprehensive Sexuality to schools: taking the first steps we met many principals and teachers with the same belief and desire to get involved.

As part of the ISEX Project, between April and May, we launched different focus groups about Comprehensive Sexuality Education at schools, bringing together about 30 teachers, coming from 5 middle and high schools located in different neighborhoods of Palermo.

Thanks to their involvement, it was possible to collect ideas, reflections and experiences vital for the organization of Sexual and Affective Education training for teachers and educators, and for the co-production of curriculum to be implemented in schools with students next year.

An important topic for psychophysical well-being from an early age

Sexuality was described as “an elephant in the room” to emphasize the attitude that prevails in our society: avoiding a conversation on such a central topic in every person’s life. However, the discussions have proved the importance of addressing the issue from an early age given the curiosity shown by young people, a curiosity that cannot find teachers unprepared not represent a shameful taboo. Knowing your body and normalizing individual experiences through education can contribute to the psychophysical well-being, confidence and safety of boys and girls.

Make information against stereotyped and violent models

In the absence of accessible, open and plural information on sexuality, boys and girls very early turn to pornography on internet or social networks as the only source of knowledge, without the tools to recognize stereotypical and violent patterns of behavior. Comprehensive Sexuality Education at school can help boys and girls acquire fundamental knowledge to make informed, individual and free choices about their sexuality and their relationships.

A comprehensive education to talk about sexuality and relationship at 360°

Sex education needs to be comprehensive to include the body and the prevention of the negative consequences of sexuality but also the positive, relational, and affective aspects of which the culture of consent, the conscious use of the internet, the deconstruction of gender stereotypes, homophobia, intergenerational dialogue have emerged. This issues need to be adapted to the different age groups, socio-cultural backgrounds and abilities of students.

Some challenges to face

Socio-cultural conventions and generational differences between students and families and teachers came up as a challenge. At the same time, teacher showed the desire to get get out of their own comfort zone to then be able to address Comprehensive Sexuality Education in their classrooms.

Coming next

In the coming months, we will launch the conversation on Comprehensive Sexuality Education with students and families. An international training in Palermo for participating teachers is also scheduled for September followed by local trainings with teachers. They will later implement Comprehensive Sexuality Education curriculum at school thanks to the support of international experts who will offer an online mentoring program and the possibility of a study trip to Amsterdam.

If you are a Middle School in Palermo and you want to be part of the ISEX network and all that it can offer, contact us!

About the project

ISEX – Integral Sexual Education and Empowerment in Schools is co-financed by the Erasmus+ Programme of European Union under KA2 – Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices, Strategic Partnerships for school education.


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