OWL This Fall: Sex Ed Gets Real for 4th, 5th, and 6th Graders

word cloud for Our Whole lives Sexuality Education OWL

Check out these testimonials. (The names are withheld to protect the young folk.) Then RSVP now to save a spot for classes in October 2023.

I have a college-aged Young Adult who swears by this class (they started in 5/6 grade, and went through the classes during grades 8-9 and 10-11). They learned about things like how to be in a relationship, how to be safe, how substances affect things like consent and affect vulnerability, how to have healthy conversations, what non-gender-binary experience is like, and so much more. Because of it, he is more responsible and more accepting of more people.

If you have a 4th-6th grade student asking questions or seeming like they’d be interested in exploring what healthy relationships look like in today’s world, check it out. My kids know more than any of their friends, have become the resident experts on relationships and are absolutely making better choices as a result. Young people learn to be conversant in a very functional way, and we parents learn along with them (we get to connect as adults separate from the kids and get a window into the world of kids/teens). I think it’s one the best things I have done as a parent for my kids. Kids can join over the first few sessions. The classes are held at the UU church at 18th and Arizona.

Our Whole Lives (OWL) is a series of sexuality education curricula for multiple age groups, held in-person at the UUSM campus at 18th and Arizona. The age-appropriate curriculum for grades four through six was developed by and used in Unitarian Universalist and United Church of Christ congregations across North America. Trained volunteers will lead the youth and parent/guardian sessions over 10 Sundays beginning October 3. Kids can join over the first few sessions, and are welcome to join in extra-curricular, team building field trips.

There is no fee for UUSM families, but we do request a donation from non-member families.

“The Three Rs” of tween sexuality: Respect, Relationships, and Responsibility

Our Whole Lives helps young people make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. The program equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas:

  • human development
  • relationships
  • personal skills
  • sexual behavior
  • sexual health
  • society and culture

All grounded in a holistic view of sexuality.

The goal is to provide accurate, developmentally appropriate information; to increase self-esteem and understand relationships with and responsibilities toward others; to develop interpersonal skills including communication, decision-making, and problem-solving; with an emphasis on personal health and safety. For these younger grades, OWL nurtures and supports children by helping them gain self-respect and respect for others, build relationships with members of all genders and with many kinds of families, and understand their responsibilities regarding their own health and that of others. The curriculum helps individuals integrate the values of the program with their own system of values within an open, affirming, and bias-free environment. We foster a community of confidence, trust, and authenticity.

Adult-facilitated sessions provide not only facts about anatomy and human development, but help participants to consider and clarify their personal and family values and understand the often-fraught spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality. Sessions are taught by diverse teams of church members who have attended official OWL trainings specific to this age group. 

Parents need help too 

Youth may participate only with written permission from their parents or legal guardians. The first mandatory Parent Orientation is Sunday, September 24, 2023, noon to 1:30 pm. This informational session for parents will introduce the curriculum and the OWL teachers. Childcare can be arranged, with advance notice. Parent sessions are invaluable for following the kids’ progress in the program and general parent brainstorming during these transitional years. Two texts will be used by youth and parents to discuss specific topics at home together. These “home links” are an integral part of the program.

To RSVP for the parent orientation or ask questions, contact Youth RE. The group will be small, but UUSM encourages parents to let local friends know about this wonderful program. Families will decide to enroll after the parent introduction/orientation.