What is Girls Program?
Girls Program is a school and community-based program from the Centre for Sexuality for girls aged 8-13. Over 25 sessions, this three-year program explores topics such as mental health, puberty, friendships/relationships, self-esteem, body image, and media literacy, with the ultimate goal of healthy bodies, healthy relationships, and healthy development. Each year of curriculum builds on the previous year. Our goal is for girls to find a sense of belonging and feel equipped to take on their next big journey into puberty and adolescence. The program is interactive, evidence-informed, age-appropriate, and based on best practices.
The program is facilitated with fun and interactive activities over weekly sessions. Families are invited to complete take-home activities that encourage conversations around family values and beliefs, and are invited to participate in educational parent workshops.
Why Girls Program?
Girls aged 8-13 are on the precipice of enormous changes as they begin puberty and start to navigate big new issues such as body image, relationships and media. Research shows that puberty, sexual and relationship education is most effective at this age and when it focuses on social-emotional learning and self-esteem promotion. This program equips girls with the tools and support to face these challenges with resilience, skills and knowledge.
What makes it different?
This program emphasizes the importance of natural supports (i.e., the girls’ parents or caregivers). We involve them in the program and learning, and give them the tools to help support the girls in their journey. This happens through take-home worksheets and a series of education workshops.
Where is it taught?
We run this program in elementary schools in Calgary and throughout Southern Alberta. Schools are encouraged to offer the program in all three grades, but the program can also be offered in a single grade (4, 5 or 6). We also offer programs in community settings for groups outside of schools.
How can I find out more?
If you’re interested in booking a program, want to find out more or have questions, please email the Youth Programs Team Lead, Mehnaz, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Module 1 – Self
Focuses on personal identity, self-esteem, self-care, and strategies for enhancing mental health. The participants explore who is part of their family, their values, and who they can seek support from.
Participants learn tools for making healthy decisions, as well as preparing for physical and emotional changes that occur during puberty.
Module 2 – Relationships to Others
Focuses on healthy relationships/friendships; what it means to be a good friend, what is a healthy relationship, skills for negotiating boundaries, personal rights and agency. This module also offers tools for being an active bystander, especially in school settings.
Module 3 – Our Communities
Focuses on being an ally, largely focused on gender and the media. This module also provides tools on media literacy, allowing participants to learn new critical thinking skills to understand media messages, and navigate the messages received. There is also a focus on what does it means to be a girl in our society, what messages do girls get (positive and negative), what is great about being a girl.
There are two natural support workshops for any important adult in the girl’s life. Natural supports may include parents, foster parents, guardians, family friends, aunts, uncles, grandparents, or any adults that help to give the participants a sense of belonging, identity, security or self-esteem. Positive changes/outcomes are more likely to be met when supported at home as well.
Raising Girls Workshop Series
For girls who may not have access to the Girls Program in their schools, Centre for Sexuality offers the Raising Girls Workshop Series. These workshops are a three-part series offered on weekends or on evenings and cover some of the core topics of our Girls Program, including puberty, healthy friendships, body image and media literacy.
These workshops are delivered to girls aged 9-12 and their natural supports (parents/guardians). Please check the website or social media for announcements on program dates or email Mehnaz, the Youth Programs Team Lead, for more information: email@example.com.