Officials in Switzerland were plowing ahead with a controversial sexual education program for school children as young as four despite outcry from parents furious over the candid program and the use of a "sex box."
Elementary school children, including kindergartners, in Basel, Switzerland, will reportedly be learning about the pleasures of sex through the use of toys made to look like male and female genitalia, according to reports from Swiss media.
The toys are part of a kit to be given to teachers that includes dolls, books, and wooden penises, among other things.
In an interview with Swiss newspaper Blick, Basel education minister Christoph Eymann revealed that officials had received more than 3,000 letters of complaint sent in by parents who think the sex education program goes too far.
Eymann said that, unfortunately, the education of children on the subject of sex had been left to the schools since parents were not doing their jobs at home.
When asked about the program's aim of teaching children that "touch can be pleasurable," Eymann said the actual objective was to help children differentiate between good and bad touches.
"It's about protecting the sexual integrity of children," he said, adding that it was necessary for educators to do something to help prevent sexual violence against children by helping children protect themselves.
Eymann said that he was taking parents' complaints seriously and although the curriculum would be reviewed, the program would go forward.
“We will stick to our goal: to get across to children that sexuality is something natural. Without forcing anything upon them or taking anything away from their parents,“ Eymann told Blick.
As for the "sex box" teaching kit, Eymann said, “It was no doubt stupid to call it a ‘sex box’ – we will change that."
According to documents on the sex education curriculum for Basel schools, the program was designed to be a "positive and respectful approach" to sexuality and to help strengthen children's self-worth and emotional well-being.