Sacred Heart students learn about body safety

As part of the “Care for Kids” program, Clare Dieter with Riverview Center visited Doris Porter’s pre-K class at Sacred Heart. Dieter talked to the kids about the proper terminology when it comes to their private and public body parts. She used baby dolls to demonstrate her point. (Photos by Kim Brooks)

Students were given coloring pages with an outline of the body. Dieter helps student Jake Stoll work on identifying where one’s private body parts are located on a coloring page.

Mallary Dwight, a pre-K student at Sacred Heart, draws clothes on her body to cover up her private parts. Teacher Doris Porter said it’s important kids know about protecting their body and when to ask for help in an abusive situation.
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The pre-kindergarten class at Sacred Heart learned an important lesson recently about their bodies and awareness.

     Teacher Doris Porter introduced Clare Dieter to her students. Dieter is a prevention and sexual assault advocate with the Riverview Center. Dieter presented a six-part, six-week series on proper terminology when it comes to the body.

     The “Care for Kids” program is a national early childhood sexual abuse prevention program, geared toward kids ages 3 to 8. The program is funded through a grant by Jones County Community Partnerships for Protecting Children (CPPC) and the Jones County Family Council. The grant stems from the Iowa Child Abuse Prevention Program.

     Heather Weers, CPPC coordinator, explained that CPPC subcontracts with Riverview Center to teach the “Care for Kids” program.

     The students learned that their bodies are special and deserve care and respect. They also learned the difference between public (everyone can see these parts) and private (not for everyone to see) parts of their bodies, and that everyone has different bodies.

     Dieter also read “The Bare Naked Book” by Kathy Stinson to the pre-K class.

     In addition, Dieter explained that there are many nicknames for various body parts, but that it’s important to use the anatomically correct terminology. She said it’s important to normalize these words.

     She said when a young child is abused, they need to be able to tell an adult what happened. “Secrets aren’t safe,” said Dieter.

     Porter has been introducing this program to her students at Sacred Heart for about 10 years now. Before the first session, she meets with the parents so they know about the topic at hand. “Parents come in and see what we are doing, why we are doing it, and what they can do as parents,” Porter explained.

     Parents have the option of opting out. Their child is sent to another teacher during the program. But, Porter said this year the parents knew the importance of this program.

     “Some people cringe or say that they would not like to address this topic with a group of children,” said Porter. “If I don’t give children this opportunity to be safe, who will?

     “Children need to have a voice. They need to know the correct language to use and how to ask for help,” added Porter. “Children need to be aware that they have rights, even at their age, to make decisions about their bodies and their safety.”

     She said no child should ever have to live with abuse, and she just hopes she’s doing her part to stop the epidemic.

     Porter shared that early on when she started offering the “Care for Kids” program, a parent who had been sexually abused as a child approached her. She said the parent wished a program like this had been offered when she was a child herself. “That statement alone defends my reason for offering this valuable program each year,” said Porter.



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