ST. PETER'S N.S. R.S.E (Relationship and Sexuality Education) Policy

This policy applies to the students, teachers and parents of St. Peter’s National School, St. Peter’s Road, Phibsborough, Dublin 7

This policy reflects the school ethos by addressing the spiritual, intellectual and environmental needs of the child and the development of responsible attitudes towards self and others.

The Education Act 1998 provides that all schools should promote the social and personal development of students and provide them with health education. R.S.E is a very important aspect of education.

What is Relationships and Sexuality Education?

Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) aims to help children learn, at home and in school, about their own development and about friendship with others. RSE aims to provide opportunities for children to learn about relationships and sexuality in ways that help them to think and act in a moral, caring and responsible way.

This RSE policy has been developed by parents and teachers working together within the overall Christian ethos of the school.

Aims and Objectives of R.S.E. Programme:
1    To enhance the personal development, self esteem and well-being of the child.
2    To help the child develop healthy friendships and relationships.
3    To foster an understanding of, and a healthy attitude to, human sexuality and relationships in a moral, spiritual and social framework.
4    To enable the child to acquire an understanding of, and respect for, human love, sexual intercourse and reproduction.
5    To develop and promote in the child a sense of wonder and awe at the process of birth and new life.
6    To enable the child to be comfortable with their own sexuality and that of others, while growing and developing.

Objectives of Programme:
1    Acquire and develop knowledge and understanding of self.
2    Develop a positive sense of self-awareness, self-esteem and self-worth.
3    Develop an appreciation of the dignity, uniqueness and well being of others.
4    Understand the nature, growth and development of relationships within families, in friendships and in the wider contexts.
5    Develop an awareness of differing family patterns.
6    Come to value family life and appreciate the responsibilities of parenthood.
7    Develop strategies to make decisions, solve problems, and implement actions in various personal, social and health contexts.
8    Become aware of the variety of ways in which individuals grow and change and understand that their developing sexuality is an important aspect of self-identity
9    Develop personal skills which will help to establish and sustain healthy personal relationships.
10    Develop coping strategies to protect oneself and others from various forms of abuse.
11    Acquire and improve skills of communication and social interaction.
12    Acquire and use an appropriate vocabulary to discuss feelings, sexuality, growth and development, with due regard to the programme being introduced without the progressive phasing in initially.
13    Develop a critical understanding of external influences on lifestyles and decision making.

How it relates to other programmes:

All aspects of RSE will be taught within a specific timetable for SPHE, it being an element of the broader S.P.H.E. programme, and  while it is being newly introduced on our curriculum,  all aspects will be dealt with in a cross curricular manner. RSE shares content of language, the arts, physical education, religious education and with social, environmental and scientific education. This approach ensures that the children encounter RSE in a holistic manner rather than in isolation. RSE relates directly to Religious Education which promotes a sense of wonder in new life, how to co-operate with others and the area of moral, Christian and ethical decisions. With regard to Language, the programme will develop the child’s use of appropriate language and communication skills. RSE will integrate naturally with Social, Environmental and Scientific Education i.e. growth, new life and development are included in science education, units on family, family patterns link with “human environments “in Geography while family history and local studies are elements of the History programme. The emphasis on enjoyment of, and positive attitudes towards physical activity, coupled with the promotion of health and well being of the child (which includes the physical,, social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual health of the child) all link RSE with Physical Education. Arts Education, which includes music, art, dance and drama, affords the child experience in the area of non- verbal communication, as they role-play feelings and situations, and, as they express themselves artistically, they pursue personal interests and pastimes which fosters self esteem and the holistic development of the individual. RSE will be integrated in a natural and obvious manner with our S.P.H.E. programme.

Moral and Values Framework.
The RSE programme aims to provide our pupils with the opportunity to learn about relationships and sexuality in a way that will help them to think and act in a caring, responsible and moral way. We regard the aims of RSE to accord well with the ethos of our school by leading the pupils to  discover and own their rich resources, as our curriculum is based on the full and harmonious development of the child, having due regard for their individual differences. Our ethos is predominantly Catholic and reflects the beliefs and values of the wider community.

The programme will be delivered by the teachers of all classes. 5th and 6th class boys and girls are taught separately.

It is envisaged that the RSE lessons will be taught during the Spring term, to be incorporated with seasonal lessons on new life etc., while also giving teachers and classes some months to get to know each other and feel comfortable together, which is vital.
    A copy of this policy will retained in the school and will be available to any parent who wishes to read it. If parents have any queries about the lessons they are encouraged to discuss this with their child’s teacher where their concerns will be dealt with. If parents wish to see the lessons etc. they will be made available to parents from the school following such a request.
A letter will be sent to the parents of 5th and 6th class children, giving guidelines about some of the issues that may be addressed in the classes. The lessons are based on the “Busy Bodies” HSE booklet. Parents will return a signed slip confirming that they received the letter.

There is a great deal of power in language and not being familiar with the biological terms for the body can put children at a disadvantage.  To give children this vocabulary, it is recommended that the teachers in this school use everyday situations to include words for the body and bodily functions naturally and without undue emphasis. As children grow older and become more comfortable with these words, they can discuss aspects of their growth and development with greater ease. They are less likely to use inappropriate or vulgar language when referring to the bodily functions.

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