From 8 years old I start teaching about changes that happen during puberty. We revisit puberty each academic year, adding changes until they are 12, when they know all of the changes listed below:
EVERYONE
~growth spurts
~voice deepens (more in males)
~mood swings
~possible spots/acne
~sexual feelings can develop
~genitalia grows (female anatomy too!!)
~hair growth all over the body (also underarm hair and pubic hair)
~greasy hair (head)
~sweat more / smells different
~masturbation might start
PEOPLE WITH PENISES
~erections (can be uncontrollable but will calm down once having gone through puberty)
~testicles start producing sperm
~testicles drop
~wet dreams might happen (some people have them/some don’t/some have more than one)
~facial/chest/back hair might grow
~voice breaks
~shoulders broaden
~muscles thicken
PEOPLE WITH A UTERUS
~vaginal discharge will start 6 months to a year before periods start
~periods start
PEOPLE WITH FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS
~breasts develop
~hips broaden
~bones get heavier

 

In order to be as inclusive as possible, I use careful language from the very beginning of my teachings around puberty. If asked why I am saying, “people with a penis” for example, I will explain (in an age appropriate way) that people can identify as a different gender to their anatomical sex/body parts, so a person with a penis could identify as a woman, for example. Introducing the idea that not all females are born with a uterus or that some people are born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit into the boxes of ‘male’ or ‘female’ (intersex) is a way to educate your child that (possibly) the whole world doesn’t just look like they do and might even help with the diagnosis of various medical conditions (eg. roughly 1 in 5000 women are born without a uterus). When told in a matter of fact way, children are very curious and accepting of this information. It is factual and inclusive and therefore anyone sat in one of my classrooms who may not fit into a hetero cisgender box will hopefully feel seen, whilst hetero cisgender children will learn that other people are not living the same experiences as they are and are free to ask questions about that.