The views expressed by the Swedish Committee of Experts in Medicine and Pedagogy are well worthy of quotation: “It is illustrative of the broad view taken by the committee of their task,” says the British Medical Journal, “that they deal with the education of the child from the time it learns to speak and address inquiries as to how it came into the world. The committee look forward to the time when parents will be so enlightened that they will not tell their children silly stories about babies being brought into the home by storks, but will give a simple account which the child in later years will not discover to be mendacious. The committee hope that the child, who is gradually taught more and more about sex hygiene as it passes from one school grade to another, will eventually become a parent wise enough to instil in the next generation a frank and healthy attitude towards sex problems. Parents, it is hoped, will learn to protect their infants from the undesirable caresses and kisses of strangers ... As for sex teaching in school, this should be associated with the teaching of biology, Christianity, sociology, and psychology. The question of venereal disease should not come into the curriculum until comparatively late, and until the physiology of fertilization and reproduction has been fully taught. Advanced sex teaching should preferably be in the hands of doctors; but they are not always available, in which case other teachers should give instruction on this subject, male teachers dealing with boys and female teachers with girls. Teaching of sex hygiene in high schools for girls should include the subject of venereal disease, and special emphasis should be laid on the protection of infants from infection. A further recommendation is that a carefully supervised library of works on sex hygiene and venereal disease should be compiled at the cost of the State for the use of teachers and classes.”
The Committee of the Board of Health agree with the suggestion that teachers should be trained to deal with this question, and that school medical officers or other qualified practitioners should give occasional “talks” to the elder boys and girls. A great deal may be done by physical instructors preaching the gospel of “physical fitness” and personal cleanliness in thought, word, and deed. Bathing and outdoor sports and games of all kinds should be encouraged. The Committee would point out, however, that not all teachers and not all medical men possess the qualities fitting them to give instruction and advice in this delicate matter. The task should be entrusted to those who have shown themselves specially adapted by sympathy and tactfulness for the work, and preferably those who are parents, otherwise harm instead of good may result.
More than one witness spoke with approval of “The Cradleship” and other books by Miss Edith Howes as suitable for use with young children.
The Committee are of opinion that addresses on sex questions by lay persons, except selected teachers, to young people in mass are of doubtful value.