Ask children if they can recall a time when something unexpected happened to them. How did it make them feel? Share some of these.
You might wish to share a personal example, e.g. a surprise party, or surprise visit from a relative.
Introduce the final episode of Paradise Street in which something surprising happens to Siobhan.
Click to play “Paradise Street”, Episode 11.
Siobhan gets her first period and doesn’t know quite what to do. She is sad that her Mum, who died a number of years ago, isn’t there to show her the ropes, but she is helped by her teacher and her Dad to become confident going forwards.
See the Module Overview for further guidance on this section.
Use the Lucky Dip Questions in Appendix 1 to generate discussion.
Alternatively, here are some questions you can use to facilitate a conversation with pupils about the drama:
• What do you think Siobhan felt when she discovered her period had started?
• What does she do? Do you think that is sensible?
• When she’s watching the clock waiting for breaktime so she can speak to Miss Nichols, what is Siobhan afraid of?
• Does Miss Nichols think Siobhan is silly or disgusting? What does she think?
• What does Miss Nichols show Siobhan, and how do they work?
• Can Siobhan exercise whilst on her period?
• Why does Miss Nichols say Siobhan should tell her Dad?
• How do Siobhan’s friends react to her news?
• How do you think Siobhan’s Dad felt getting the phone call from Miss Nichols? What present did he get Siobhan?
• What kinds of sanitary products can girls buy?
• Why did her Dad get her bubble bath and chocolate etc?
• What are some of the side effects of a period?
Click to play “Delving Deeper into Episode 11”
“Delving Deeper” is a presenter-led film which highlights some of the key ideas presented in the film, gives some teaching and provides a Christian context by linking to the Kester storyline.
This teaching includes:
• Girls can get their first period any time between 8 and 16, but most girls start menstruating between 11 and 14.
o Everyone is different – a girl shouldn’t worry if all her friends have started and she hasn’t!
• PMS (premenstrual syndrome) can accompany a woman’s period and cause symptoms like stomach cramps, moodiness, bloating, and spots.
• Most periods last between 4 and 7 days, and will release 2-4 tablespoons of blood over that time.
• Periods are part of the menstrual cycle, which starts on day one of bleeding and ends the day before a woman’s next period begins. The average cycle is 28 days but it may be shorter or longer.
• Period hygiene – how to use sanitary pads.
The Menstrual Cycle
• A period is what happens when a girl’s body is mature enough to have a baby.
• Every month, the lining of the womb (uterus) gets thicker with tissue in preparation for a possible implantation.
• The ovaries release an egg (called an ovum).
• If a sperm fertilises the egg, the tissue stays where it is to help keep the egg safe during pregnancy.
• Most of the time (especially for children!) the egg isn’t fertilised and so the body sheds the tissue through the vagina.
• That tissue is the blood girls/women see and this monthly process is called menstruation or a period.
• Some people will be called by God to the vocation of marriage and to be open to having children. Others won’t be called to marriage. They might, for example, be called to a religious vocation like being a priest or a nun.
• All of us are called to love others unselfishly, just in different ways.
Children should complete the ‘Menstruation’ activity in their Paradise Street Workbooks.
Today’s activity helps children consolidate learning from the films and articulate how a girl might feel before and during her first period as well as those that come afterwards.
As this is the last lesson in the Module 1 – Paradise Street series there is an additional ‘Looking Forward’ section to complete in the workbook. This activity encourages children to reflect on their learning so far and list their hopes and fears for the future, expressing gratitude to God for all the gifts He gives us. This can be done as part of this session or at a later date.
It is advisable for children to complete these workbook activities independently. You might like to play music in the background to encourage focus, before bringing the class back together to conclude.
Invite children to close eyes and listen to the following reflection read by teacher:
Christ be with me,
Christ within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
Extract from St Patrick’s Breastplate
Sit in silence for a moment and give thanks that God is with you in everything and you are awesomely and wonderfully made.
Play: “My Dedication”