As natural, healthy and empowering as periods may be, there’s still a huge taboo surrounding the monthly cycle.
Girls don’t exactly want to wave their tampons around in the air like magic wands and boys seem to wince at the very thought of a wet pad. But why?
Half the population will have periods at some point in their lives, with girls starting to menstruate at 12-years-old on average – and some even from the age of eight, according to the NHS.
So wouldn’t it be easier if we were all more open about this perfectly normal bodily function? We think so.
To help teachers tackle the awkwardness attached to periods, betty has taken on the role of classroom fairy godmother by creating a free programme with the help of education experts and teens themselves.
Forget blushing at the front of the classroom while children snigger at the word “vagina” – betty can do the talking on your behalf if you don’t feel comfortable.
After all, confidence is at the heart of stamping out the stigma and engaging pupils in this so-called “taboo” topic.
That’s why betty’s film-led resources are a fun but practical mix of quizzes, animations, interactive tasks and teen conversations. The beauty is that you can get involved as little or as much as you like.
“The resources clearly guide you through the topic, building students’ knowledge and asking appropriate questions. The activities would definitely be appealing to students as they include plenty of opportunities for interaction and involvement,” says primary school teacher Howard Auckland, who acts as PSHE lead.
Amy McKaughan, who teaches PSHE to Years 3-6, agrees: “I think this is an excellent, modern resource and I particularly like the way that the practical issues surrounding coping with a period are tackled and discussed.”
A 2013 Ofsted report found that primary school pupils weren’t prepared when it came to their own puberty. This, combined with that fact that only 40 per cent of teachers feel “very comfortable” delivering non-scientific lessons on periods, means that serious changes need to be made.
The responsibility is not all on you, however.
Remember that parents are a crucial part of the process. Encourage your pupils to carry on the conversation at home, whether with mum alone or both parents.
Recommend that they engage in open, regular chats – this approach will quickly normalise the topic at home and school.
Also, remind boys that periods affect them too. Knowing about the practicalities, as well as PMS, will help and encourage them to support their mothers, sisters, friends and future girlfriends.
For more information and to get involved, visit bettyforschools.co.uk