These three resources give all the tools needed to help early childhood professionals respond to young children’s sexual questions and behaviors.

Overview of Healthy Foundations

These three resources give all the tools needed to help early childhood professionals respond to young children’s sexual questions and behaviors.

  • Bodies, Birth and Babies, is all about sexuality education in early childhood programs.
  • Healthy Foundations Policy Book is a guide to help early childhood programs develop a sexuality policy.
  • Healthy Foundations: Teacher’s Book is a guide to understanding and responding to young children’s questions about sexuality.

Table of Contents for Healthy Foundations

Introduction: Why Early Childhood Programs Need a Policy About Sexuality

Steps for Developing a Policy

Philosophy and Goals for Young Children’s Learning About Sexuality

Developing a Policy:

Questions to Consider

Worksheets for Developing a Policy

The Healthy Foundations Starter Kit

Books/Pamphlets for Teachers and Parents

Books for Children



Introduction to Healthy Foundations

Why do Early Childhood Programs Need a Policy about Sexuality?

Young children are alive with curiosity about how their bodies work, why boys and girls are different, and how babies are born and grow. When early childhood educators respond to children’s curiosity, they give the children messages – either positive or negative – about themselves as sexual beings. Positive responses lay the foundation for sexual health and self-esteem by helping children feel good about their bodies, good about being a boy or a girl, and good about adults who are willing to help them figure things out.

As an increasing number of children spend most of their waking hours in pre-schools and child care centers, teachers have a greater role in answering children’s questions, providing nurturing touch, responding to children’s sex play, and setting guidelines for what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

Sexual learning is inevitable in early childhood programs. Early childhood educators, in cooperation with parents, lay the foundation of age-appropriate information, attitudes, and behavior skills. Although many school staff members are eager to begin a more knowledgeable and positive approach to children’s sexual learning, often they are reluctant to implement a program without a clear school policy to support them.

Healthy Foundations was developed by educators at Planned Parenthood of Greater Northern New Jersey’s Center for Family Life Education, in order to help schools and agencies develop such policies. It has been field-tested in six varied early childhood programs in northern New Jersey. Our sincere thank you to the director, staff, parents and children of the following field test sites:

  • Ruth Austern. Ridgefield Park Coop Nursery, Ridgefield Park, N.J.
  • Regina de Stefano. The Caring Center, Chester, N.J.
  • Polly and Steve Eberhardt. Wellness Child Care Center, Madison, N.J.
  • Jean Marshall. Jefferson Park Day Care Center, Elizabeth, N.J.
  • Ricki Wasserman. Prime Time Pre-Schools, Montvale and Westwood, N.J.
  • Beverly wright. Head Start Community Program of Morris County, N.J.

Healthy Foundations was developed and field-tested through a grant from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

Healthy Foundations Set

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