WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Kansas Learning Center for Health has 16 courses introducing kids to a healthy lifestyle.

The two most requested courses center around a conversation deemed uncomfortable to have.

“Fifth-grade puberty, along with sixth-grade human reproduction,” Carrie Herman, Kansas Learning Center for Health executive director, said.

Having “the talk” is deemed as a right of passage. However, not one that people necessarily look forward to.

Riley Hazard, health educator and curriculum coordinator, has made a career out of it.

“I absolutely love this because there wasn’t a program like this when I was younger,” Hazard said.

She says knowing what’s normal, helps kids to know what’s not normal.

“One thing I always teach young females is where your uterus is in your body, what to expect with period cramps versus when to know what’s stomach cramps or some sort of other issue,” said Hazard.

The “not normal” applies beyond change to the body.

“Healthy friendships and relationships and all that, that does start to build as puberty starts,” Hazard said. “We want them to know that they can set those boundaries and say no to people touching them, what’s appropriate, what’s not.”

Instructors use interactive tools to help educate kids, including a real skeleton, and Valeda, an anatomically correct, life-sized, transparent, physical prototype of a woman.

“Health education is so important,” Herman said.

“The earlier the age that we teach students, the more likely they’re going to create those healthy habits that last a lifetime.”

The students who survive “the talk” share a similar sentiment.

“When they’re walking out of the classroom, you kind of hear the whispering of ‘oh, that wasn’t that bad,'” said Hazard.

Kids, leaving Halstead, and the Learning Center, with a bit more confidence and a lot more knowledge.

Staff at Kansas Learning Center for Health say they service between 15,000-16,000 students every year.
During the most recent school year, staff raised $45,000 to teach fifth-grade puberty and sixth-grade human reproduction in more than 75 schools.

Parents can bring their kids to the Kansas Learning Center for Health free through the Sunflower Summer App.

3 Ways to Support Kansas Learning Center for Health:

  1. Make a donation
  2. Support the Community Garden Expansion
  3. Stay up to date on fundraisers and programs