STD Toolkit

Topics by Age/Grade

The following topic areas serve as a suggestion to help parents guide their conversations with their children, or for teachers to incorporate lessons on sexual health and healthy bodies in the classroom. Many lessons can be taught and repeated year after year, laying the foundation for sex ed and to create a better understanding as kids age.

For parents: Use your judgment for when and how to discuss these topics with your kids. Some children may be ready to discuss more at an earlier age. Listen to what your children talk about based on what they are hearing in school, learning from other kids or the media, or what they experience in real-life encounters to help steer the conversation. Let them lead.

For teachers: Learning about the body and relationships is an ongoing dialogue that begins early. Teaching children early on about appropriate anatomical language, forming relationships, and understanding the basics of harassment or bullying can help build the foundation for healthy decision-making later on in life. The below topics serve as a guide and are designed to be age-appropriate.

Grades K-2

  • Family composition - what does a family look like?
  • Basics of anatomy
  • Personal space and unwanted/inappropriate touching
  • Friendship
  • Gender roles
  • Basics of reproduction and babies (in other species)
  • Reproductive anatomy
  • Bullying

Grades 3-5

  • Respect
  • Bullying and safety (what makes kids feel safe/not safe?)
  • Human growth and development
  • Puberty and reproduction
  • Healthy/unhealthy relationships, friendship, trust
  • Sexual abuse/harassment
  • Sexual and reproductive anatomy
  • HIV
  • Love and sexual orientation
  • Conflict, relationships, and use of refusal skills

Grades 6-8

  • Cognitive, physical, emotional, and social changes in adolescents
  • Gender roles
  • Boundaries
  • Communicating sensitive topics (e.g. sex)
  • Romantic relationships, "liking" and "loving," and showing affection
  • Finding reputable sexual health resources
  • Anatomy
  • Menstrual cycle, reproduction, and pregnancy
  • STDs and HIV
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender stereotypes and gender identity
  • Online, social media, and phone safety
  • Healthy/unhealthy relationships
  • Communicating in relationships, listening, and talking (including text communication)
  • Sexual assault
  • Birth control and condoms

Grades 9-12

  • Relationships
  • Communication
  • Sexual assault and rape
  • Sexual orientation and gender
  • Decision-making skills (sexual & other health and life skills)
  • STDs and HIV (testing and community resource information)
  • Unintended pregnancy
  • Condom use skills
  • Contraception options
  • Consent and boundaries
  • Reproductive rights
  • Pleasure and sexual response
  • Sex in the media

More information on age-appropriate K-12 school curriculum materials can be found on the Advocates for Youth website.