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This site is designed to support and expand the Hillendale Health Curriculum.

Learning about how your body grows and develops and how to take care of your body is an important part of Hillendale Health class. Our growth and development unit focuses on the changes that occur during adolescence and puberty. The following pages contain Important information about puberty and adolescence.

Puberty Link

Table of Contents Link

Glossary Link

Hillendale Physical Education Link

Hillendale Health Link

Site Map for Hillendale Health and PE

Hillendale Main Index



What is puberty?

Puberty (pu-ber-tee) is the name for when your body begins to develop and change from a child's body into an adults body. A boys body physically changes into a man's body and a girl's body changes into a women's body. During childhood, growth is slow and steady; in puberty, change is rapid and dramatic. During puberty an adolescent may experience growth spurts, the average young person grows 12 inches in height and gains 20-30 pounds. All parts of the body do not grow and develop at the same time or rate. Typically the hands and feet are faster growing than the arms and legs. Adolescents will often feel awkward and gawky. That is quite normal because the body is out of proportion during this time period because of growth spurts. One out of five adolescents typically experience actual growing pains. These can be in the forms of aches in the shins, calves, or thighs. The attacks are usually short and often occur at night.

It's good to know about the changes that come along with puberty before they happen, and it's really important to remember that everybody goes through it. No matter where you live, whether you're a boy or girl, you will experience the changes that occur during puberty. No two people are exactly alike, but one thing all adults have in common is that they all went through puberty.

People are all a little different from one another, so it makes sense that they wouldn't all develop in the same way. No two people are at exactly the same stage as they go through puberty, and everyone changes at his or her own pace. Some of your friends may be getting curves, while you don't have any yet. Maybe your best friend's voice has changed, and you think you still sound like a kid with a high, squeaky voice. Or maybe you're sick of being the tallest girl in your class or the only boy who has to shave.

But eventually everyone catches up, and the differences between you and your friends will even out. It's also good to keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to look. That's what makes us human - we all have qualities that make us unique, on the inside and on the outside.

What is adolescence then...?

As a fifth grader you're not that child you were back in first, second or third grade are you? You've changed a lot since you first entered school as a kindergartner. All of these changes have taken you through your childhood. You actually are now considered to be a preadolescent. This means you are on the doorstep to the period in your life where you will gradually change into an adult. You're still a kid and hopefully you will be part kid all your life, but you're not that same child you were back in first and second grade... you're growing up! That's what adolescence is all about. Adolescence is the time period between childhood and adulthood. Adolescence is a time of change - physical, emotional, mental, and social. So what's the difference between puberty and adolescence. Well, puberty involves all the physical changes that need to take place in your body to change your childlike body into an adult body. Adolescence involves ALL of the changes necessary to turn you into an adult. So puberty (physical or body changes) is actually a part of adolescence. Remember, puberty is the time of physical change that transforms a child's body into an adult's body. Puberty occurs during adolescence.

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Puberty | Contents | Glossary | Phys Ed | Health | Site Map | Index | Being Born

Male Reproductive System | Female Reproductive System | Review