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TAMARA USELMAN

SUPERINTENDENT

Bismarck Public Schools
806 North Washington Street
Bismarck, North Dakota 58501
(701) 323-4000
Fax: (701) 323-4001
www.bismarckschools.org

FRAN A. RODENBURG
ASST. SUPERINTENDENT
ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

DR. BENJAMIN J. JOHNSON
ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT
SECONDARY SCHOOLS

DARIN M. SCHERR, P.E.
BUSINESS AND OPERATIONS
MANAGER

LISA J. KUDELKA
HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER

Dear Families,
Your fourth grader is about to start a mini-health unit focusing on the basics of puberty. This puberty unit will
teach your child age-appropriate facts about physical and emotional changes in a gentle, supportive environment.
One of the reasons for providing this basic information about growth and change in the fourth grade is because
over the decades, the onset of puberty is occurring earlier: in 1920, the average age for the onset of puberty was
14.6; in 2010, the average age was 10.5 years old. This unit also addresses North Dakota’s health standard at the
fourth grade level. Standard 1: Growth and Development. Students understand the fundamental concepts of
growth and development. Most importantly, this mini-unit is meant to develop positive attitudes about natural
changes, to explain the biological facts so misconceptions aren’t formed about what is “normal,” and to encourage
students to deal honestly and openly with their concerns/questions.
Our class will be watching an 18-minute video called Meet the New You (one for boys, another for girls), which
will be viewed separately by boys and girls on Friday, May 20th. The video covers hygiene, healthy habits, and
onset of puberty in a developmentally-appropriate manner.
Puberty information for girls will include



when to expect the onset of puberty
the physical and emotional changes of puberty
menstruation
the importance of good hygiene and healthy
habits: good nutrition, exercise, plenty of sleep
building positive self-esteem

Puberty information for boys will include




when to expect the onset of puberty
the physical and emotional changes of puberty
the role of male hormones/glands in puberty (includes
brief reference to nocturnal emissions)
the importance of good hygiene and healthy habits:
good nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep
building positive self-esteem

This video also reinforces the need for a child to have a trusted adult to talk to, so if a child asks a question in
class that is better left for parents or guardians to answer, we will simply respond, “That is an excellent question.
Please ask your mom/dad/guardian about that tonight.” Taking time to honestly answer possible follow-up
questions and visiting with your child will relieve some of the anxiety he/she may feel during this transitional
time. As children learn about their changing bodies, the most important thing is to reassure your child that the
emotional and physical changes he/she is or will be experiencing is normal.
If you wish to preview the video, a public viewing will be held at Liberty on Thursday, May 12th at 3:30pm.
Sincerely,
4th Grade Liberty Team
Nicole Schaff, Marcia Dorrheim, Jana Detwiler, and Carly Christian.