Developing the Self Developing the World have developed a program to deliver wholistic gender and sexuality education to school students 11 – 18yo (Class 5 through to 12). It has existed since 2007, starting in New South Wales, Australia and grown to reach schools across Australia and America. 

Facilitators come into schools once a year and spend time with each class and make available individual sessions for the older students, as well as speak with parents and teachers. Over the years, the content builds as the adolescents consciousness develops and their struggles change. The school is able to integrate the lessons into their existing Health and Personal Development curriculum and continue to build on themes where applicable. 

Class sessions

Student education starts the year the child turns 11 years old, an age when the growth in the child’s body and soul develops towards puberty and becomes ready to receive more conscious pictures around gender and sexuality. Before that age, a child experiences and learns about their place in the world according to how the community thinks and behaves. Learning about gender and sexuality evolves out of how the family and community refer to the child and how society refers to or sees behind race, sex, gender, and other physical or cultural differences in people. We leave the other free when we recognise their individual capacities and support them towards working from these capacities in life.

For Classes 5  – 11 (from 11 – 18 years old), a facilitator meets with each class at school for an hour long session building up themes relating to developing social understanding through wholistic gender and sex education.

Individual sessions

Immediately following the class sessions, facilitators offer 15 minute private question sessions to students 14 years and above. Students may come individually or in a group. These sessions provide an opportunity for them to ask confidential questions of the facilitators based on the content that was presented. The adolescents find this time very useful as they often find it easier to confide in adults who are not part of their immediate community.

The curriculum themes for 11- 13 year olds are:

  • Developing who you are as an individual being and understanding our human evolving
  • Understanding our inner life
  • Understanding our social conditioning and interactions
  • Understanding the health and hygiene of the body
  • Discussing the physical and emotional changes of puberty

The themes for 14 – 15 year olds are:

  • The developing and awakening of heightened self-consciousness
  • Discussing and understanding attraction and discussing the different types: sexual, social, romantic, consciousness.
  • Understanding how we contribute towards social conditions
  • Understanding substance use, early sexual exploration and existential human experiences
  • Exploring biological and physiological differences between males and females and the impacts of biology on behaviour

The themes for 16 year olds are:

  • Developing and awakening your conscious self in relationships
  • Understanding and recognizing the other’s point of view in sexual, social and romantic relationships
  • Understanding socialised differences around behaviours in males and females
  • Understanding the difference in the sexual act for the male biology and the female biology
  • Discussing attraction and biological urges of males and females
  • The true nature of sexual intercourse: the bodies of males and females and the sex act
  • Understanding substance use and sexuality

The themes for 17 – 18 year olds are:

  • Being able to assess and understand sexual diversity
  • Exploring sexual norms from the perspective of society
  • How power and eroticism affect relationships
  • Individual responsibility and sexuality
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