HSE to spend €50,000 on sex education book for under-10s
The Health Service Executive (HSE) is spending €50,000 on a new sex education book for children aged under 10.
Up to 60,000 copies will be circulated across the country and made available free of charge to parents later this year.
The HSE has commissioned Oscar-nominated author and comedian Kathleen O'Rourke to write the book.
Ms O'Rourke shot to fame in 2010 when she was nominated for the Academy Award in the Best Animated Short Film category for her ingenious comedic creation, Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty.
The 37-year-old Carlow author now faces the challenge of putting her talents towards helping parents explain "the facts of life" to their young children.
The subject matter of the book is human reproduction, the body and other elements of the Relationships and Sexuality (RSE) curriculum.
Ms O'Rourke was commissioned after a study by the HSE's Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme (SHCPP) found that parents want to be able to talk to their children openly about relationships, human reproduction and growing up
However, they "find it challenging to translate understandings they hold into terms children can understand".
It stated that "parents were interested in receiving resources to support them communicating with children. This book is one of the actions that the HSE is taking in response to these findings".
As part of the project, the HSE has also awarded a contract to award-winning Dublin animation firm, Igloo Promotions, to illustrate, design and lay out Ms O'Rourke's 30-page children's book.
According to the tender that Igloo won, the project relates to action six of the National Sexual Health Strategy Action Plan 2015-2016, which aims to "develop and disseminate guidelines and advice to parents of children aged under 10 years on sexuality, sexual development and growing up".
The HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme has published a number of resources for parents and teachers to support them in prov- iding relationships and sex- uality education to young people.
These include the Busybodies Booklet and DVD for 10 to 14-year-olds, You Can Talk To Me for parents of 11 to 15-year-olds and Tips for Talking to Older Teenagers.