A Table View-based children’s organisation has launched a free online sex-education book to help parents broach the sensitive subject with their children.
Social worker Edith Kriel and clinical psychologist Marita Rademeyer work for non-profit organisation Jelly Beanz, which helps children who have experienced abuse and neglect.
With more than 50 years of combined experience in the field of child protection, the two paired up to create Our Bodies: Helping parents, caregivers and teachers talk with young children about sexuality.
The activity book is a step-by-step guide to help children and their parents discuss sex and build “healthy values”.
Ms Kriel and Ms Rademeyer said parents who didn’t speak to their children timeously about sex risked having them learn about it from friends, older siblings, the internet and even sexual predators.
“The information they get is often distorted or incorrect,” said Ms Rademeyer.
Launched on Friday December 1 to coincide with World Aids Day as well as the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign, the book is for children aged 5 and up and available in English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu and Pedi.
Ms Kriel said the book was based on their experiences of working with pre-schoolers over many decades.
“Sex and sexuality are still taboo topics in many of our communities; it just does not get spoken about unless something goes wrong, such as sexual abuse or inappropriate sexual play between children.
“Helping parents broach the topic was thus our first big hurdle. It was quite a challenge to crystallise messages of positive sexuality while also opening up topics of child sexual abuse,” said Ms Kriel.
She said it was important to give accurate information in a “concrete way” so that the children knew clearly what their bodies and sex were about.
“But we needed it to be child friendly and non-threatening.
“Our brilliant illustrator, Roy Janse van Rensburg, from Blue Ocean designs in Table View, helped with this by doing anatomically correct, yet fun drawings of all the tricky bits,” she said.
Ms Rademeyer said they were excited to have the book published in five different languages and that they were working on incorporating all of the other official languages.
“The book will be downloadable for free from January 2018 from our website. This resource will be available for free with no time limit. We have hard copies of the book available too, at a nominal cost. We can be contacted through our website,” said Ms Rademeyer.
To download the activity book go to www.jellybeanz.org.za