UAE | Education

Dubai kindergarteners get a 'private' talk

Kindergarten pupils at Dubai Modern High School being taught about body parts, safe and unsafe touch

  • By Sharmila Dhal, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 February 3, 2011
  • XPRESS

Sex Education
  • Image Credit: Gulf News Archive
  • kids familiarised with names of genitals to reduce awkwardness , says school circular

Dubai: In the spotlight following an alleged sexual assault on one of its students, Dubai Modern High School is now educating its kindergarten (KG) pupils to protect their bodies, including private parts, by keeping them covered, clean and safe.

A school circular received by a parent of a KG2 student on January 20 said a session on "personal safety" was organised for kindergarten children in respective classes, as a first step in a series of talks and activities focusing on child safety.

"The reason for having some parts covered is because they are important parts, very delicate and can hurt if not kept covered. Example: why is the heart hidden … that is why the genitals/private parts/...are also kept covered. We always wear underwear/panties to keep them covered...Names of genitals were mentioned with the aim of reducing awkwardness about these parts. Myths about these parts being ‘shame-shame' or ‘unclean' were also clarified," the circular said.

What's safe and unsafe

The circular said children have been told that these parts could be touched "only while bathing and when you finish in the toilet — by your parents, teachers or other care givers (maids, aunt)". They were told that they should "never undress completely" in front of anyone other than these people and that they should not show or touch their private parts even while playing.

The circular said: "Safe and unsafe touching was discussed. Puppets, role-play and talk were the methods used. Safe touches are pat on the back/head, high fives, hand-shaking etc. Unsafe touches are pat on bottom/chest, kissing on lips, tickling."

Where the child is touched and "how the touch makes you feel" were also discussed as the criteria for deciding whether the touch was safe or not. "If any unsafe touching happened, children were taught to say ‘Stop it — I don't like it' in a loud tone and walk away from the situation and immediately inform teachers/parents or any other responsible adult around," the school note to parents said.

Dr R. McCarthy, Psychologist of the Counselling and Development Clinic, said: "In general, kindergarten children are too young for sex education which, if imparted, could damage their innocence. We've to be careful about the way we teach them about what is safe and what is not."

Early last month, parents of a four-year-old girl of the school alleged that she had been sexually assaulted by her bus driver and two conductors.

Comments (7)

  1. Added 01:42 February 4, 2011

    Let children live their lives. Don’t make them curious by teaching them unnecessary things they are not aware of.

    Shah, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 13:46 February 3, 2011

    The school is going over the top! I don’t think teaching about “private parts” will do any good to children. Rather it will baffle and confuse them. Prevention is better, but what if kids are drugged? Haven’t we taught children not to accept anything from strangers and yet they continue to do so? They do not have the maturity to understand these things. Please don’t do this to kids.

    Anu, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 08:38 February 3, 2011

    A wise step taken by the school authorities. More schools must follow suit. Thumbs up!

    Preetika Mukherjee, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 08:03 February 3, 2011

    I appreciate teaching children on safe and unsafe touching. I request all schools to implement this so as to make children aware of how to be safe without damaging their innocence.

    Hassan , Yousuf, Pakistan

  5. Added 07:29 February 3, 2011

    Modern School teachers are imparting a positive lesson to KG students. Many of us who are working in Dubai have families back in our home countries. Are these lessons available in video formats or online so that we can send them to our kids back home?

    Tahir, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 07:20 February 3, 2011

    It’s good to know that action has been taken and schools are making efforts to make children aware of safe and unsafe touches. I think this needs to be done in all schools across the UAE.

    Kauser Jabeen, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 03:52 February 3, 2011

    It is essential for children to have age appropriate sex education and I agree with this concept. I think all schools must implement this subject. It is important for the safety of our innocent children who are oblivious to these horrendous predators!

    Mandy, Toronto, Canada

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