Our Whole Lives

The Our Whole Lives program is a comprehensive, accurate, and developmentally appropriate human sexuality curriculum available for kindergarten aged children through senior adulthood. Developed to meet or exceed the National Sexuality Education Standards, Our Whole Lives empowers participants to make informed, responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior.

Our Whole Lives is a secular curriculum, but it isn’t without values. We believe that these values are a critical component of sexual education:

  • self-worth
  • sexual health
  • responsibility
  • justice and inclusivity

Honest, accurate information about sexuality changes lives. It dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, improves decision making, and has the potential to save lives.

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Our Whole Lives Programs Currently Offered

Each church year, September – June, we offer Our Whole Lives programs both at First Univeralist and out in the community. Below are details about our current offerings for Fall 2019. For questions or to enroll, please contact Gwen Matthews at gwenatfirstu@gmail.com

  • Our Whole Lives Program for Grades 7-9: weekly on Sundays, October 6 – December 15, 2019, held on alternating weeks at First Universalist and at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brunswick. Cost: Free to UU friends and members, $50 to non-members. Participants: Youth in 7th – 9th grade. 
  • Our Whole Lives Program for 7th Grade: Mondays and Wednesdays, October 28 – November 18, held at the Maine Coast Waldorf School. Cost: $50 per participant. Participants: 7th graders at Maine Coast Waldorf School. 

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Our Whole Lives Programs Future Offerings

We are currently planning the Our Whole Lives offerings for the Winter and Spring of 2020. If you are interested in enrolling yourself or your child in an OWL program (we offer age and developmentally appropriate programs for kindergarten through senior adulthood) or would like to know more information about Our Whole Lives, please contact Gwen Matthews at gwenatfirstu@gmail.com.

Please contact us to add your name to the list for the next session:

  • Our Whole Lives for children in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade, and their parents
  • Our Whole Lives for adults (ages 30+) and senior adults (ages 60+)

Please contact us to add your name for future sessions:

  • Our Whole Lives for children in fourth, fifth, or sixth grade
  • Our Whole Lives for youth in seventh, eighth, or ninth grade
  • Our Whole Lives for youth in tenth, eleventh, or twelfth grade
  • Our Whole Lives for young adults (ages 18 – 35)

Please contact us to coordinate group sessions or informational meetings:

  • Group sessions for parents (with children ages 0 – 12) or parents of teens (youth ages 12 – 19)
  • Informational meetings for parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers, coaches, and adult leaders

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. What do you mean by “sexuality education”?

Sexuality education is more than “sex ed,” a class on puberty, or learning about human anatomy. Our Whole Lives programs are about the wonderful, complicated parts of being human and sexuality education embraces all of the facets of our sexuality.

Sexuality is a healthy, natural, and normal. We are all sexual beings from birth to death. Our sexuality includes our bodies and how our bodies work; our genders, gender identities, and gender roles and expectations; our sexual orientations; and our values about life and the people our lives touch. Sexuality also includes how we feel about all of these dimensions as well as how we experience relationships, intimacy, and love.

  • 2. Isn’t my child too young to learn about sex?

Children are best protected through access to accurate information that is age appropriate. Worldwide studies consistently show that children who are educated about healthy bodies and healthy sexuality are better protected from abuse and exploitation. Children and youth are empowered by knowledge about their bodies and consent. They can use this knowledge to set boundaries and to talk to parents and trusted adults about anything that concerns them. Knowledge is protection.

Young children absorb information like sponges. Teaching them about sexuality is teaching about health and science. Silence on this subject could teach young children that this is a subject that they shouldn’t talk about.

And children are curious; they want to know about families, babies, development, and their own bodies. Children can learn about these topics from a variety of sources including parents, on the playground or school bus, from peers, from older children, from the internet, from TV or movies, etc. Some of these sources may have accurate information and some of it may be inaccurate or even damaging. Our Wholes Lives teaches children about their bodies and sexuality in a way that incorporates the values of self-worth, sexual health, responsibility, justice and inclusivity.

  • 3. Why would an adult attend Our Whole Lives? Is sexuality really something that adults could learn more about?

Yes, adults can still find great value in discussions and activities about sexuality. In particular, OWL can be helpful to:

  • advance communication about sexuality and help participants address their own needs
  • help participants identify and use the many sexuality resources available
  • build understanding of healthy sexual relationships and activities
  • advance the causes of justice and inclusivity
  • help participants accept, understand, and affirm their own sexuality
  • bring an affirmative spirit to the understanding and practice of sexuality, which can should be a positive, safe, and creative force in human life
  • fill in gaps of our knowledge about sexuality, our bodies, and language

For adults who have children or youth in their life, participating in OWL is both a chance to role model continued life-long learning and a way to be better prepared to answer questions about sexuality.

  • 4. Do you charge for Our Whole Lives programs?

It is important to us that everyone has access to developmentally appropriate, accurate, affirming sexuality education. Because of this, no one will be turned away due to inability to pay. Our Whole Lives programs (ranging in length from eight sessions to twenty sessions) are offered for free to our pledging members and friends. Most programs are offered to community groups for $50/person to help offset the cost of training, materials, travel, etc.

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Information on this page includes information from the UUA, The Parent Guide to Our Whole Lives, and Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education for Adults.