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NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde


Primary schools now introduce the universal terms for private body parts at Primary 1 – penis, vulva, bottom and nipples. They have done this because they need to have a common language in school that children have permission to use and that is accurate. Some nurseries now use these terms with children.

Many adults were not taught these words growing up and can feel uncomfortable using them as they can be thought of as ‘sexual’ words. Young children do not have these associations and usually consider these words to be as normal as ‘hand’, ‘leg’ etc.  If we want to be clear about what children mean when they talk to us about their body and touch, then we need to teach them accurate language.

Primary 1, lesson one covers the following:

  • Naming body parts
  • Hygiene and keeping clean
  • Rights
  • Children’s autonomy and trusting their own judgement
  • Feelings
  • Keeping children safe
  • Gender/sex differences

The teacher uses the smart board with the children to label all parts of the body as well as the private parts of the body: