Story: Sexualities

Early sex education, 1916

Early sex education, 1916

The cradle ship, by New Zealand children's author Edith Howes, was an early way of educating children about human reproduction through stories about 'the birds and the bees'. It was first published in 1916, reprinted every few years, and still in circulation in the 1950s. 

When their new baby brother arrives, Win and Twin want to know where babies come from. Their parents take them in a magical cradle ship to Babyland, where they learn about how plants, birds, animals and people reproduce. They find out that babies grow in 'a silken baby-bag' beneath their mothers' hearts and that fathers as well as mothers are needed to bring up children. While Win and Twin find out that all babies begin as 'a tiny egg', they do not learn anything about the place of sexual intercourse in human reproduction.

Using this item

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Reference: Edith Howes, Cradle Ship, London: Cassell and company, 1916

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How to cite this page:

Louisa Allen, 'Sexualities - Sexuality education', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/object/30864/early-sex-education-1916 (accessed 12 November 2019)

Story by Louisa Allen, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 17 Jul 2018