Periods in School
Written by Cinestie Olson
Do you remember the first time you got your period? Were you unprepared, scared, or nervous? If you answered yes, then you’re not alone because nearly half of all menstruators felt the same!
According to Independent UK, 44% of young menstruators are unaware of what is happening to them when they get their first period. Sixty-percent of menstruators were too scared or ashamed to tell anyone right away when they did get their first period (or cried hysterically when they got theirs 🙋♀️). These statistics have raised a red flag regarding the lack of period education in school systems.
It’s important that young children, whether they menstruate or not, learn about periods, as it can open up a safe space for questions and conversations!
Why Should We Talk about Periods in School?
The average age for a menstruator to get their first period is 12 years old, but periods can start as early as 8 years old! It’s important that young children, whether they menstruate or not, learn about periods, as it can open up a safe space for questions and conversations. It would also help menstruators be better prepared and not scared for when their first period rolls around!
Most of the time, period education is a brief one-time-thing, where students come together and learn the basic biological elements of a period. Teachers will play a 15-minute puberty video, and that’s the extent of it (even teachers come across too ashamed to talk about it - they have to play a video instead!)
Learning about the entire menstrual cycle (menstruation, follicular phase, ovulation, and the luteal phase) and hormones can educate and bring more awareness to young students about how their bodies and emotions may change.
Period stigmas and shame can also directly come from the lack of education. If someone doesn’t understand how periods work to begin with, everything else surrounding periods and menstruation can become twisted. When one can understand the different changes, obstacles, and facts of periods, we can start normalizing menstruation!
How Should We Talk about Periods in School?
Teaching period education and other sex education classes should be expected, just like a regular math or English class! It’s important to have safe spaces where students can ask questions and engage in these fundamental conversations.
A great way to first teach about periods is by showing how period products are used. Not only will menstruators feel more prepared when having to use their first period product, it can show all of the different options that work for different bodies!