Our Whole Lives: Lifespan Sexuality Education
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. For these reasons and more, we are proud to offer Our Whole Lives (OWL), a comprehensive, lifespan sexuality education curricula for use in both secular settings and faith communities.
Interactive workshops and lessons engage participants, while step-by-step instructions for program planners and facilitators help ensure success. Six curricula speak to participants' needs, by age group:
Our Whole Lives helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. With a holistic approach, Our Whole Lives provides accurate, developmentally appropriate information about a range of topics, including relationships, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual health, and cultural influences on sexuality.
Our Whole Lives Offers...
- Accurate information presented in developmentally appropriate ways
- Affective and emotional learning
- Guiding values and principles
- Activities that help participants clarify values and improve decision-making skills
- A safe and supportive peer group
- Acceptance of diversity
- A social justice approach to inclusive sexuality education
- Step-by-step instructions for program promotion, implementation, and facilitation
- Parent orientation that affirms parents as their children’s primary sexuality educators
- Facilitator trainings and continuing education to increase knowledge, skills, confidence
- Expert user support from OWL Program Associate (UUA) and OWL Program Coordinator (UCC)
- Sexuality and Our Faith, an optional religious supplement for use in Unitarian Universalist and United Church of Christ settings.
Our Whole Lives Values...
While Our Whole Lives is secular, it is not value-free. The program gives clear messages about the following key sexuality issues:
- self worth
- sexual health
- justice and inclusivity
Our Whole Lives recognizes and respects the diversity of participants with respect to biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and disability status. The activities and language used throughout the program have been carefully chosen to be as inclusive as possible of this human diversity.
Who Uses Our Whole Lives?
Our Whole Lives is used in faith communities as well as by public, charter, and private schools; after-school programs; youth groups; home schoolers; colleges; correctional facilities; and groups in other settings. Although developed by two religious organizations, Our Whole Lives contains no religious references or doctrine.
Many Unitarian Universalist congregations and United Church of Christ churches offer Our Whole Lives programs. To find one near you, please use the Find a Congregation (Unitarian Universalist) or Find Churches Near Me (United Church of Christ) search engines. The Director of Religious Education or Director of Christian Education, respectively, will be able to answer questions about their programming.
Our Whole Lives: Approaches that Work
Our Whole Lives covers topics and skills that both parents and students want to have available but schools are less likely to cover. National surveys show that most parents, along with educators and students themselves, would expand sex education courses and curriculum. Our Whole Lives is an excellent way to accomplish that goal.
Our Whole Lives curricula are based on the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (PDF) produced by the National Guidelines Task Force, a group of leading health, education, and sexuality professionals assembled by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). In every category of assessment, the curriculum meets or exceeds the National Standards for Sexuality Education Core Curriculum, K-12.
Sexuality and Religion
The Our Whole Lives program can be put into the context of religious values with the addition of the Unitarian Universalist and United Church of Christ companion publication, Sexuality and Our Faith. The reasons sexuality education belongs in a religious setting are outlined in the brochure Sexuality is Honored Here.
Our Whole Lives users from several faith traditions have created their own companion document. Contact owl [at] uua [dot] org for more information.