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The Growing Up Program (GUP) for Parents/Carers

The Growing Up Program (GUP) is an age-appropriate, evidence based relationships, sexuality and protective behaviours education program for primary school students. 

GUP reflects the latest in sexual and reproductive health research, with resources and teaching approaches reviewed every year and school feedback used to ensure learning outcomes for students are maximised.

GUP addresses key content from the Australian Health and Physical Education Curriculum, the Department of Education’s Respectful Relationships Framework, and the Early Years Learning Framework, including:

Kindergarten to Year 2
  • recognising and describing emotions
  • public and private body parts and behaviours
  • protective behaviours to keep safe and healthy
Years 3 and 4
  • understanding of how bodies grow and change
  • understanding and skills for respectful relationships
  • problem-solving, persistence and decision making
Year 5 and 6
  • understanding the physical, social and emotional changes of puberty
  • exploring factors and behaviours that can influence health, safety and well being

Will the classroom teacher attend the Growing Up Program?

Yes, Family Planning Tasmania requests that classroom teachers attend all sessions of the program with the students so that they are aware of what has been taught and are familiar with the wording that has been used. This enables the classroom teacher to show support for the students, and helps them to answer any questions that you may have about the program.

Can I meet with the Educator delivering the program?

A parent/carer information session will be held with the educator delivering the program. During this session the educator will go over course content and explain how the program addresses the requirements of the Australian Curriculum and other curriculum documents. Questions are always welcome during this session.

What if another child in the class asks a question that my child is not necessarily ready for?

Educators are prepared for questions to be asked by children throughout their sessions. These questions will be met with respectful, age-appropriate answers.

How can I support the Growing Up Program from home?

You play an important role in teaching your child about bodies, keeping healthy and staying safe. GUP will help by giving your child the correct information at the right time. 

Your family and culture may have beliefs and values that you want to teach your child. Our educators will encourage your children to talk with you about what they have learned, however you may need to start the conversation for them. 

Keep lines of communication open with your children. It is ok to take time to consider your response to a question rather than feeling you must answer straight away. You can read more here.

Is it necessary for my child to be learning about puberty at such a young age?

The Growing Up Program introduces the topic of puberty at grade 3 and builds upon student knowledge throughout the upper primary school years. 

Research has found that children in Australia are showing signs of puberty earlier than in the past. An Australian study in 2015 found that 16% of girls and 7% of boys are showing definite signs of puberty at 8-9 years of age, with 74% of girls and 53% of boys showing signs by 10-11 years of age (Edwards, 2014).

This highlights the importance of discussing puberty and the changes children can expect to occur at this age, as many young people will be beginning to notice signs of puberty, or recognise changes in their peers.

Why does my child need to be taught protective behaviours?

The Growing Up Program introduces protective behaviours in a very gentle way. It is not about making children scared of the world, but providing them with the knowledge and skills to identify when a situation is making them feel unsafe, and how and where to access help should they ever need it. 

Recent studies have shown that Australia had one of the highest incidences of child sexual assault in girls, with 21.5% of study participants reporting having suffered abuse prior to the age of consent (Collin-Vézina, Daigneault, & Hébert, 2013). 

However, there is concern that many assaults still go unreported (Tarczon & Quadara, 2012). Findings of these studies have resulted in calls for education programs, such as The Growing Up Program, to educate children in protective and help seeking behaviours.

Why does my child need to be taught cyber-safety?

It is important for children to be taught cyber-safety early on so that they develop safe online habits and understand the importance of speaking to a trusted adult if they ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe online. 

Unfortunately many young people are being exposed to pornography at a young age, and this exposure is influencing their perceptions of respectful relationships. A 2015 study has found that the median age of first viewing pornography in Australia is 13 years old for boys and 16 for girls (Lim, Agius, Carrotte, Vella & Hellard, 2017). This does not mean that the viewing was intentional, for many children the viewing of adult content is accidental (Flood, 2007). 

By educating children about safe online practices early on, it is hoped that accidental viewing of content will reduce, and children will know how to respond and who to talk to if help or advice is ever needed.

I am concerned about the age at which young people are becoming sexualised. Why can’t we just let kids be kids?

We share your concern about the sexualisation of young people. Research demonstrates that imposing adult models of sexual behaviour and sexuality on to children and adolescents at developmentally inappropriate stages is harmful. 

In contrast, the information we provide is focussed upon increasing the safety and health of young people and is actually a protective factor against sexualisation. 

Providing accurate and age-appropriate information helps young people with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to make healthy choices which in turn may reduce their vulnerability to abuse.

Other Useful Documents

You might find these other useful documents helpful in supporting your young person in their sexual and reproductive health:

Childhood Sexual Development Overview for Parents & Carers

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us and someone will be in touch.

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