Educating girls about puberty can be technical and challenging. These lessons will help teachers navigate this critical topic. It is important for girls to understand all the physical and emotional transitions their bodies and minds will encounter during puberty. However, the greater goal is fostering an environment where girls can safely and comfortably begin to discover their own identities, feel free to explore their curious questions about their bodies, and begin building a foundation for growing into responsible, confident, and respectful young adults.
In our lessons, we include discussions on all the internal and external physical developments of puberty. Special attention is given to the topic of menstruation, as this is the area where girls often have the most questions, concerns, and fears. Hormonal changes during puberty and their role in growth and development are also covered in detail. Developmental changes during each stage of puberty will be discussed, emphasizing the normal variations in timing and pace through with each girl will move through the stages. Being prepared for the changes that lie ahead is the best prevention against confusion and anxiety.
During adolescence, girls experience varied emotional challenges. Mood swings, as well as self-esteem and body image will be discussed. Through writings and discussions, topics such as “Am I normal?” will be raised as well as “I don’t know if I am ready to leave childhood behind.” Allowing girls to explore the emotional effects of puberty brings them awareness about their own feelings surrounding puberty, and helps them cope with any fears or insecurities.
Adolescence is a time when girls are discovering their identity and opening their minds to new ideas and interests.
As a result, it is common for teens to undergo major changes and challenges in their relationships with their parents and their peers. Knowing that all teens are experiencing similar issues can help relieve some of the stress and anxiety they face with these transitions. Dating and sex may be new and confusing areas for some girls. Creating a dialogue where open, honest, and respectful information is shared can help girls sort through their ideas and values on this topic. Girls should explore their new interests, new personalities, and new bodies. Puberty is the time when they will be coming into their own and taking responsibility for who they will become.
Creating a safe and inviting environment for exploration Self discovery during puberty can be daunting. Encouraging a space where girls can safely talk about their experiences, and their questions, and learn dependable information is our goal. These lessons are a road map, which fosters this environment. These lesson plans can be used to begin the first of many conversations with students that they can continue with others as they continue to grow and change throughout their lives.
Developed by: Valerie Sabbag, Health Educator and curriculum developer. This lesson was developed in consultation with Dr. Michelle Bourke. Copyright © 2018 by Toyna J. Chin, All rights reserved.
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