Document Type: Conference Papers
Conference: Hong Kong Educational Research Association (HKERA) International Conference 2018: Equity, Access, and Diversity in Education: Theory, Practice, and Research (2018: The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Young children are naturally curious about sexuality. It is thus imperative to implement sexuality education as early as in kindergarten. Currently, little is known about pre-service kindergarten teachers’ attitudes towards sexuality education. This study fills in the research gap by investigating Hong Kong pre-service kindergarten teachers’ approach to handling children’s sexuality-related behaviours and its correlates. Two hundred and forty-five students were recruited from a local pre-service kindergarten teacher training programme to complete a questionnaire. Descriptive statistics suggested that some pre-service teachers were unlikely to use an accepting and open discussion approach to handle children’s sexuality-related behaviours. Repeated measures analysis further revealed that pre-service teachers tended to use an accepting and open discussion approach when children displayed gender-typed play behaviours and showed curiosity towards pregnancy and birth. The prohibitive and punitive approach was more likely to be adopted when children showed curiosity towards sexual behaviours. Bivariate correlation analysis showed that the inclination to use an accepting and open discussion approach was positively correlated with the perceived levels of benefits of early childhood sexuality education and parents’ trust towards teachers and negatively associated with shame of talking about sexuality. Results of structural equation modelling, however, showed that the perceived level of benefits of early childhood sexuality education was the only significant correlate. These findings point to the importance of promoting pre-service teachers’ awareness of the values of early childhood sexuality education and strengthening pre-service teachers’ skills in handling young children’s sexuality-related behaviours (especially their curiosity about sexual behaviours) in teacher education programmes. Copyright © 2018 HKERA International Conference.