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New Kindergarten Curriculum Targets Sexual Abuse

Florida will introduce the "Safer, Smarter Kids" curriculum this week in all public kindergarten classes.

State leaders will join with childhood sexual abuse survivor and advocate Lauren Book to launch Florida’s new sexual abuse prevention curriculum, Safer, Smarter Kids in elementary schools throughout the state, including those in Carrollwood, on Thursday, Sept. 27.

Multiple studies and research over the past 20 years continue to confirm that childhood sexual abuse puts children at significant risk for a wide range of medical, psychological, behavioral and sexual disorders that can persist into and throughout adulthood.

The 2009 National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence found:

  • 6.1 percent of all children surveyed had been sexually victimized in the past year and nearly one in 10 (9.8 percent) over their lifetimes
  • Adolescents ages 14‐17 were by far the most likely to be sexually victimized; nearly one in six (16.3 percent) was sexually victimized in the past year
  • More than one in four adolescents (27.3 percent) had been sexually victimized during their lifetimes, most commonly by flashing/exposure by a peer, sexual harassment and sexual assault.

About Safer, Smarter Kids

The new curriculum, which has been delivered to every kindergarten class in Florida, helps children learn how to sidestep the traps predators set, without being in any way explicit or scary.

Florida becomes the first state to implement a sexual abuse prevention curriculum in schools, although other states have passed a mandate to develop such an education program.

According to the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, the students who received the Safer, Smarter Kids sexual abuse prevention curriculum last spring showed a 77 percent learning gain in their personal safety.

Safer, Smarter Kids is an abuse prevention education curriculum for kindergarteners created by Lauren’s Kids in consultation with child psychologist, Tara Zuckerman. After years of implementation in the Miami-Dade school system, the 2011 Florida Legislature directed Lauren’s Kids to develop and expand the curriculum to be sent to every public kindergarten classroom and guidance office in Florida.

The curriculum is divided into six, 30-minute micro-lessons and designed to fit easily into any classroom schedule. Each lesson includes a video component, in-classroom exercises and take-home materials to involve parents in this important education. The curriculum satisfies more than 22 Sunshine State Standards and numerous ESOL standards.

The topics covered include:

  • Safety Awareness
  • Respect for yourself and others
  • Self-esteem development
  • Body boundaries
  • Listening to your Guiding Voice
  • Accessing Help
  • It’s OK to Tell (secrets)

About Lauren's Kids

Book, a Florida resident, was a victim of childhood sexual abuse for six years at the hands of her nanny. Armed with the knowledge that 95 percent of sexual abuse is preventable through education, Book sought to turn her experience into a vehicle to prevent childhood sexual abuse and heal survivors.

In her memoir, "It's Okay to Tell," Book shares her personal journey from victim of abuse to the highly publicized trial that followed and her journey to become a national voice for legislative change and helping others heal.

Her organization, Lauren's Kids, educates adults and children about sexual abuse topics through in-school curriculum, a 24-hour crisis hotline and speaking engagements around the country. The organization also provides more than 4.5 million educational and awareness materials statewide through direct mail every year. The ultimate goal is to prevent sexual abuse through awareness and education, and to help survivors heal with guidance and support.

maggie bergeron September 27, 2012 at 02:51 PM
I love this new program but I think it should be kindergarten thru 2nd grade because may children in 1st and 2nd grade need help.

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