In 2017 we co-created a series of 6 lesson plans and various learning resources with PSHE teachers and behaviour experts, forming an un-biased and holistic period education program. Our lesson plans include:
- Menstruation and Me for KS2
- Menstrual Products for KS2
- Menstruation & Products recap for KS3
- Environmental Impacts for KS3
- Myths, Taboos and Celebrations for KS3-5
- Period Poverty for KS3-5
We also have a resources box, videos and printed materials to make these lessons as interactive and engaging as possible!
DON’T SCHOOLS ALREADY TEACH PUPILS ABOUT PERIODS?
You would have hoped so! Unfortunately the prevalent stigma and misunderstandings around periods highlight that:
a) periods are not covered in enough depth in schools
b) boys are often left out of the discussion
c) period product advertising needs a serious revamp!
(In 2017 Bodyform hit the headlines when they depicted period blood as RED rather than BLUE, like all the other ads! We find this absurd!)
In many schools period education is monopolised by companies like Tampax, Always and Lil-lets who visit schools for free, giving out samples of their branded products to students. We think that it’s vital for students to receive information on ALL the products available to them, not just one brand. After all, everyone’s physical and economic needs are different. The education around products that kids receive at a young age is likely to shape their whole period experience, so in order to make informed choices they need to be aware about the variety of materials, costs and environmental impacts associated with period care options.
What’s more, the big brands offering free samples in schools are responsible for encouraging the idea that periods are unhygienic and embarrassing. These attitudes are what lead to girls missing school when they’re on their period and to irresponsible product disposal that leads to polluted waterways and oceans.
OUR SCHOOLS PROJECT
The government have committed to introducing compulsory RSE (Relationships and Sex Education) and the health aspect of PSHE education in schools by 2020. This is why we designed our non-biased schools program – to give PSHE teachers and ambassadors the resources that they need to provide a truly comprehensive education around periods.
In 2018 with the support of Anglian Water, we carried out a pilot of our program called ‘Periods. The Facts’, with 12 schools and 600 students. Here’s what we found:
- Pupils felt less awkward or stupid, and more comfortable and confident talking about periods after the program.
- Key learnings were about the different types of products available, the environmental impacts of those products and knowledge around sewage systems and flooding.
- Students were 4 times more likely to try plastic-free disposables after the lessons.
- Students were 3 times more likely to try menstrual cups after the lessons.
- Students were 25% less likely to use disposable tampons and 50% less likely to use disposable pads after the lessons.
- 72% of teachers had previously thought that flushing tampons down the toilet was okay (find out here why we shouldn’t be flushing ANY products!)
Since carrying out this trial our resources have been updated and improved to accommodate for all the feedback we received. We’re hoping to roll this out in Bristol (who have recently passed a motion and target relating to Period Poverty) and eventually, nationwide!
We want to see free period education for all which helps to increase understanding, remove stigma and empower women to make choices about what’s best for them and best for the planet.