Original Research

Strengthening comprehensive sexuality education in the curriculum for the early grades

Thungavel Venketsamy, Jenny Kinear
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 10, No 1 | a820 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v10i1.820 | © 2020 Roy Venketsamy | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 October 2019 | Published: 17 December 2020

About the author(s)

Thungavel Venketsamy, Department of Early Childhood Education, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Jenny Kinear, Department of Early Childhood Education, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

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Background: The continuing high rate of child abuse and sexual violence has highlighted the need for a focused intervention in the form of educating young learners on sexual risks and protection against harmful behaviours and making them aware of their right to be protected.

Aim: The aim of this article is to strengthen the comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curriculum for the early grades and to gain an understanding of teachers’ knowledge of CSE and how it is linked to the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS): Life Skills.

Setting: This study was conducted at two schools in different districts in the Gauteng Province, in environments where rich data could be solicited from the participants regarding their knowledge of how to strengthen CSE in the curriculum.

Methods: A qualitative case study was conducted that included eight Foundation Phase teachers and two subject advisors. One focus group interview was held with teachers and subject advisors. The analysis of documents containing teachers’ and subject advisors’ notes was examined through the lens of the Behaviour-Determinant-Intervention (BDI) Logic Model.

Results: The data gathered showed the following significant gaps in CAPS: Life Skills CAPS need to be addressed and aligned to the International Technical Guidelines on Sexuality Education (ITGSE), and teachers need to be adequately trained in the content and teaching methodologies of CSE in the early grades.

Conclusion: The CAPS curriculum must be aligned to the ITGSE. Teachers need to be trained; detailed scripted lesson plans should be made available to all early-grade teachers and appropriate resources should be provided to support teaching and learning to strengthen the CSE implementation.


comprehensive sexuality education; early grades; curriculum; sexuality education; behaviour-determinant-intervention logic model


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