The NFB is committed to respecting your privacy

We use cookies to ensure that our site works efficiently, as well as for advertising purposes.

If you do not wish to have your information used in this way, you can modify your browser settings before continuing your visit.

Learn more
Teaching Puberty | 4 Films to Facilitate Discussions

Teaching Puberty | 4 Films to Facilitate Discussions

Teaching Puberty | 4 Films to Facilitate Discussions

Teaching puberty, especially to adolescents going through it, is never easy or enviable. This is far and away the most confusing time in a person’s life. Helping teens make sense of the changes in their body, their hormone levels, and their thinking processes can sometimes seem like a Sisyphean task.

We’ve put together a playlist of four films that will help facilitate conversations about puberty, and the effects it has on both those going through it and those around them. Geared towards middle school/high school students, these films are captivating enough (and in one case campy enough) to keep their attention. In addition, we have study guides available for each film to help you see where this fits into your curriculum and provide you with educational activities.

Little Big Girls

Little Big Girls, Hélène Choquette, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Early onset puberty, or precocious puberty, appears in a small subset of the population—about 1 in 5,000. But it’s not rare to see children as young as nine entering its early stages, and this is quickly becoming a worldwide concern.

This feature documentary explores the topic from three angles: social, scientific, and psychological. We hear from girls who are going through it, or have gone through it, and medical professionals in the field, while examining some of the possible causes.

We also have an accompanying blog post for the film: an interview with director Hélène Choquette.

Download the study guide.

Beauty Begins Inside – The P Syndrome

Beauty Begins Inside – The ‘P’Syndrome , Sheila Murphy, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

This short film belongs to a three-part series on teens and their bodies. This installment focuses on puberty, nutrition, and being responsible for the choices you make. The director takes a very light-hearted approach to the subject, framing it as a send-up of serial detective shows and using the character of Detective Stark to hunt for the prickly perpetrator, the big P—puberty.

The film provides the perfect basis for discussing healthy eating during puberty and why fad diets aren’t the answer. The reasons for weight gain are explained, especially in women, as a way to prepare for adulthood and reproduction. There’s much emphasis on the fact that we cannot control our genes, but we can control the decisions we make, and the lifestyles we choose.

Download the study guide.

Becoming 13

Becoming 13, Victoria King, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

This documentary follows 3 girls—Jane, Avi, and Jazmine—as they navigate their lives over the course of a year leading up to their 13th birthdays. It’s a smart film tackling a big subject, that of moving from childhood into maturity. And even though this is something that happens to every generation of children, outside factors such as technology and social and historical forces bring about inevitable conflicts between teens and their parents.

So how do we handle this conflict? The time young girls need their mothers most is the same time they’re butting heads the most often. This is the issue the film addresses, and it does it with a lot of heart.

Download the study guide.


Flawed, Andrea Dorfman, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

This beautiful little animated short presents us with a very personal story that just about anyone can relate to. It’s about a girl who meets a boy and then wonders if, given their individual beliefs, they can be happy together. What she eventually realizes is that she needs to be happy with herself.

While not technically a movie about puberty, I love this film for teaching us that we should love ourselves the way we are and accept our imperfections. This is a vital concept to cling to while going through puberty.

Download the study guide.

Pour lire cet article en français, cliquez ici.

Discover more Educational blog posts | Watch educational films on NFB Education | Subscribe to the NFB Education Newsletter | Follow NFB Education on Facebook | Follow NFB Education on Twitter | Follow NFB Education on Pinterest

Add a new comment

Write your comment here