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Certification programs
Body Basics and Beyond Educator Certification Program

Welcome to the Body Basics and Beyond Educator Certification Program

I am so glad you are here.

If you are here because you are curious and inspired about making a difference in youth’s experiences of puberty and adolescence, you are in the right place. Welcome.

You may be here because you see the need for the youth in your community to be educated, supported, and connected during one of the most misunderstood times of life. Maybe you experienced a lack of information or connection in your own pubescent and adolescent years and want to change that for others. Maybe becoming a Body Basics and Beyond Educator fits into the rest of your professional life. Yes please, to all of that.

There are very few comprehensive and connective sexual development programs for youth and the adults who raise them, that are not fear-based. This is one of them. 

Where in our society are we educated about this natural and expected phase of development other than what we have taken from our own personal experiences as a pubescent or as a parent of a preteen/teen?

Maybe in some of our schools by overworked classroom teachers, undertrained coaches or people in the medical field. Or maybe we were lucky enough to have parents who pushed through the awkwardness and embarrassment to prepare us for puberty. 

Unlike some countries in the world that accept and educate about this normal part of being human, many countries have a history of limited and fear-based sexual development education in homes and in schools. Or it doesn’t exist at all.

All Body Basics and Beyond Programs normalize a natural part of human development that is typically culturally surrounded by shame, embarrassment, misinformation and myths.

Body Basics and Beyond takes potentially awkward and embarrassing topics around puberty and adolescence and seeks to normalize them both for youth and the adults parenting them. As youths’ bodies are changing, their emotional and social lives are changing as well. 

Being prepared for what to expect improves:

  • Youths’ relationship with their changing bodies, thoughts and feelings
  • Adults’ understanding of what is really happening to their youth as they are becoming
  • The parenting~teening relationship, creating greater connection and trust 

For over two decades Body Basics and Beyond has been successfully offering quality and up-to-date puberty and adolescence education in a small community in Southern Oregon in the United States. It has proven effective time and time again with the return of students for the after-school programs offered to grades 4-8 each year. Here is what one parent had to say:

“I felt so lost and overwhelmed with how to prepare my daughter for puberty. I had no support during that time in my life. I didn’t know what to do! When I found Body Basics I felt like I wasn’t alone anymore. I received the information and guidance I needed to confidently support my daughter as she stepped into this amazing time of her life. I realized that it didn’t have to be horrible like my experience. It actually could be a positive experience for her!”  ~K.C. mother of a 5th grader

Youth may feel a little awkward at first, but quickly they figure out that this is a safe and brave space to learn about themselves in ways they never have before. Here is one student’s thank you note given to Karen after the last class of the 5th grade program:

“Dear Karen, Thank you so much for teaching me about my body. I feel much more comfortable as it is changing. I had LOTS of fun in your beautiful room. We colored some crazy pictures and it made me laugh. Me and my mom even bonded over our talks. I can’t wait to see you next year!!!! Love, A

These comments and notes are the norm as youth and the adults who guide them realize the long lasting effect this education has on their lives and relationship. Body Basics and Beyond programs change lives. Period.

I will be upfront. This is a commitment both in your time and money.

And I take that seriously. It took me over two years to create this certification program. Everything was created with great intention, purpose, and with you in mind. A busy, driven, change-maker. That’s you. Or you wouldn’t be reading this right now. I want you to not only be passionate about this essential work, but be successful- feeling that success in your soul and bank account.

You may quickly find that this is more than you want. I want you to really know what you are committing to. It is a lot. Because as with the youth I work with, I am asking you to show up for this education. In more ways than one.

You will receive your online certification program through small group meetings on Zoom Conference. 

Yes, you will have to find a way to fit the classes and the assignments into your busy lives. But if you want this enough, you can do it. And I will be there to support you.

This certification program will provide you with:

  • An understanding of the stages of healthy human sexual development from childhood to young adulthood
  • In depth knowledge of the physical, emotional and social changes that can present themselves at the onset of puberty and adolescence
  • Information about the parent of the preteen; their fears and motivations and how to guide them
  • How to set up an authentic learning environment for real learning to take place
  • How to bring very giggly topics to youth giving them access to important information while having fun

More specifically you will learn how to:

  • Present the 5th grade curriculum called Body Basics to small groups of youth using the supplemental materials provided upon certification
  • Set up your Body Basics and Beyond classroom as an enticing and exciting place
  • Get your Body Basics and Beyond business into your community

You are getting so much more than lesson plans. This is an opportunity to further understand yourself as a person as well as an educator. This is a whole-person training.

Sure, you will get all the lesson plans, student materials and “how to’s”. But there is much more here. We will:

  • Have check-ins and check-outs with group agreements held, for each class
  • Consider how parental “marks” have been placed on all of us- which do we want to hold onto, which to release and what to do when they appear in classes
  • Reconnect with our fifth grade selves and our motivations at that time
  • An opportunity for you to consider your own experiences of puberty and adolescence, disbanding myths and misconceptions about this valuable phase of life
  • Realize your strengths and challenges in communication and organization
  • Set up a business plan to bring Body Basics and Beyond successfully into your community

Let’s get more specific! You will experience:

  • 7 month certification program meeting virtually, once a week as a group
  • 4 Modules with 7-9 classes per module, with 29 classes in total
  • 35 Individual Assignments and 21 Paired Assignments to be completed
  • 288 pages of scripted and careful orchestrated lesson plans used by Karen to deliver material to you
  • 1 instructor with 22 years of experience working with youth and their parenting adults
  • 6-8 students in your cohort

Below are more details of what you can expect to learn about in each module.

The Modules

Module Requirements

  • Attend the 2 ½ -hour class, prepared and ready to connect 
  • Complete independent and paired assignments in between classes
  • Keep our group agreements and expectations
  • Attend one 60 minute private post module review session per module with Karen
  • Commit to the approximate time commitment of 4-6 hours on average per week for class, paired meetings and homework assignments

Each Module Holds Value and Purpose

Module One In Preparation sets up clear and safe communication, expectations and guidelines in our virtual learning environment. We will address the call for this work and cover the developmental phases of puberty and adolescence. It also prepares you for the inner work that can come with working with youth and their parents. 

Module Two The Educator, The Classroom, The Students, & The Parents looks at what it means to be a Body Basics and Beyond educator. You will learn how to set up the Body Basics Classroom as a safe, brave space. We will look at the 5th grader developmentally as well as who are the parents who want Body Basics for their children. I will direct you in how to work with parents and to hold successful parent meetings. 

Module Three The Lessons are the actual lesson plans for each class with the prep and all the materials needed for each. You will study and practice teaching lessons while learning about the physical and emotional changes that can come with puberty. 

Module Four Getting Set Up for Success will guide you in setting up and running a successful small business. You will build your systems of organization and communication. I will guide you in how to get students into your program by examining your community for resources for families. We will also look at what is next for you and our relationship going forward. You will complete your final assessment for certification and we will hold a graduation.

What follows is an outline of the modules and classes in each.

Module One- In Preparation

Class 1: Orientation

Class 2: The Call for Puberty Education

Class 3: Gender and Youth

Class 4: Developmental Study: Childhood to Adulthood

Class 5: Parent’s Mark: A Look Into Mother’s Influence

Class 6: Module One Wrap Up

Module Two- The Teacher, The Classroom, The Students & The Parents

Class 1: You As a Body Basics Educator

Class 2: The Body Basics Classroom: An Intended Learning Space

Class 3: The Authentic Classroom: The Learning and Teaching Supplies

Class 4: The Fifth Grader

Class 5: The Parents

Class 6: The Parent Meeting

Class 7: Module Two Wrap Up

Module Three- The Lessons

Class 1: The Lessons: Introduction to The Study Edition & Lessons 1-7

The Welcome

Group Agreements

Thoughts and Feelings

Giggles Are Welcome

Time Together with a Trusted Adult

The Genitals

Class 2: Lessons 8-10

Changes in Size and Shape

How ‘Beautiful’ Changes

Pubic Hair

Class 3: Lessons 11-13

Breast Development

Bras & Breasts

The Breast

Class 4: Lessons 14-17

A Reproductive System


Ovaries & Ovulation


Class 5: Lessons 18-23

The Uterine Lining


The Menstrual Cycle

Why Menstruate Now?


About Menstruation

Class 6: Lessons 24-26

Keeping Track of the Menstrual Cycle

Menstrual Cramps

Attitudes About Menstruation

Class 7: Lessons 27-28

Menstrual Supplies

The Last Check-in

Dear You…

Class 8: The Lessons Wrap Up

Class 9: Module Three Wrap Up

Module Four- Set Up for Success

Class 1: Knowing Your Strengths and Weaknesses as a Business Person

Class 2: Building Your Business

Class 3: Creating Your Systems

Class 4: Getting Your Students

Class 5: Communication

Class 6: Wrap Up and Going Forward

Class 7: Graduation

Still interested? Read on for more details

This is not a training. This is a certification program and at its completion you will be a certified Body Basics and Beyond Educator. You will:

  • Be able to use the name Body Basics and Beyond with the reputation that comes with it
  • Have free access to the lesson plans, student and parent materials for the fifth grade program, Body Basics
  • Have me for 3 free coaching sessions after certification (more will be available at a cost)
  • Have the opportunity to return for shorter and less expensive certification programs in other grade levels to build your business, grade level by grade level

Certification Program Sessions and Schedule

For upcoming certification program sessions and tuition information, email

    Requirements for Application

    • In depth review of the Body Basics and Beyond website
    • Experience working with youth, preferably elementary and middle school ages
    • Comfort with discussing sexual development with adults and children
    • Openness to personal growth and learning new skills
    • Willingness to commit to participating fully in weekly online classes and completing both the individual and paired assignments in between classes
    • A commitment to communication clearly, maturely and honestly with program peers and the instructor
    • A completed application with a $50 USD processing fee
    • An interview in-person or on-line

    Requirements for Enrollment

    • A letter of acceptance*
    • Signing of a commitment contract
    • Signing of a personal contract
    • Signing of the financial agreement
    • A $300 USD non-refundable deposit towards tuition

    * Please note that not all that apply may be accepted.

    * Southern Oregon territory has all the educators it needs at this time.

    Your Instructor

    Karen O’Dougherty is the mother of three dear ones who are happy and connected as they make their way in the world. She is formally trained as an elementary educator through Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon where she has lived for over 40 years. Spending time with family, walking dirt roads and wooded trails in search of trees and flowers and being with her two goofy dogs Annie and Abbee, brings her joy each day. Karen’s newest passion is bringing Body Basics and Beyond out of the Rogue Valley and into the world.

    I am sure you have lots of questions. I hope you do! FAQs follow

    Q: This is quite an investment. What can I expect for income? This can depend on where you live and the student population you can draw upon. I live in a town of about 22,000 with lots of families. I charge $275 per kiddo for a six-class series and typically have 6-10 students. I also offer partial scholarships and payment plans. I make it possible financially for anyone who wants to attend. Your income also depends on how many series of classes you are running at a time.

    Q: Are there any additional costs to be expected? Yes. You will be financially responsible for purchasing up to 5 books, a USD $50 application processing fee, and any credit card fees incurred.

    Q: Are there scholarships available? Yes, partial scholarships may be offered.

    1. How do I know if I qualify for a scholarship? Scholarships are offered on a financial needs basis as well as creating a diverse student body. I seek to gather folks representing various income levels, race, lifestyle, disabilities, and cultural identities.

    I am unable to determine scholarship amounts until all applications are submitted and reviewed. Scholarship amounts will be discussed at the end of the one-on-one interview if accepted into the program.

    Q: Is the program entirely presented on-line and can it be taken from anywhere in the world? Yes, the program is entirely presented on-line on the Zoom Platform.

    Anyone is welcome to apply, regardless of location*. Classes will take place during PST. Students must be able to attend classes scheduled during that time zone.

    *In order to secure the integrity of my current local business, I will not be taking applications from Ashland and Talent residents at this time. This may change in the future. If you are currently living in one of these areas and plan on relocating, please apply.

    Q: What if the class dates and times don’t work with my schedule? The class dates and times are set primarily around my schedule. I am unavailable in the afternoons as I am educating youth after school most days and/or running parent meetings in the evenings. I also want to accommodate students in other time zones. Unfortunately the program may not work for you if the program schedule is not a fit with yours.

    Q: What if I am unable to attend a class? Classes will be recorded as occasionally things may happen in life that prevent you from attending a class. There is the expectation that you will attend all classes. 

    Q: I do not identify as a cis-woman, can I still apply? Absolutely, yes. 

    Q: If I do not get accepted into the program session I applied for, will I be able to be considered for future sessions? If the reason for denial into the program was based on a capped number of students, you will be put on the list for the next session. 

    Q: What supplies will be needed for classes? You will need access to the internet with a reliable connection to the internet and a computer (a stable device is important).

    Q: What are the other programs that will be available for future certifications? Are those certification programs as extensive as this one? Great question! The reason that this program is so extensive is that I consider it the ‘mothership’ program. It gives you major foundational pieces around youth development, working with parents and how to conduct your business that you will hold as you come back for shorter and specific grade level focused programs to expand your offerings and business. Below is what will be offered next:

    • 4th grade- Before Body Basics
    • 6th grade- Body Care Basics
    • 7th grade- Beyond Body Care Basics
    • 8th grade- Beyond Body Basics

    Go to to learn more about each program above. Spring of 2022, the 6th grade- Body Care Basics certification program will be available for registration

    Q: Are your programs only for girls? Learning about bodies is for everyone, and no youth will be denied the opportunity to participate in Body Basics programming. Our programs welcome transgender girls, cisgender girls, non-binary youth and anyone questioning or in between. Programs for grades 4th through 6th focus on the physical developmental process for pubescent youth who were assigned female at birth. So far, most of our students in these grades have been girls, regardless of their sex assigned at birth. 

    Programs grades 7th and 8th do not focus on physical development associated with puberty. In these programs, we frequently have youth who are questioning their gender and/or sexuality, which is always welcome in our spaces. 

    Q: Do you have programs for boys? Yes! Our programs for boys start in 6th grade. Body Basics 1 for Boys is for 6th and 7th grade boys and it focuses on physical and emotional development. Body Basics 2 for Boys focuses on sex and sexuality. Our program welcomes transgender boys, cisgender boys, non-binary youth and anyone questioning or in between. 

    Q: I love the artwork! Who is responsible for it? Thank you for asking! Both students and parents find it approachable and respectful. Students love coloring them. I am honored to say that my oldest daughter, Amelia, created all the artwork for each of my programs. You can follow her @amelia.rascal on Instagram 

    Do you have a question that was not answered here? Email Karen at

    What is next?

    Check-in with yourself after taking in all that information. That was a lot. You may need a breath of fresh air, a cup of tea, or maybe just a deep breath. Take a moment and notice in your gut if you are:

    • Feeling wrapped up in a big YES! Pulse is pumping, face is smiling…you are all in. Can’t wait to get started. Email Karen for an application.
    • Hesitating…maybe a yes, maybe not. Feeling unsure? Take some space. Let it all sink in. Or go back to what you just read, to the places you feel uncertain and notice if you have any questions that could be answered. Find someone you trust to talk it all over with. 
    • A solid nope. Strong and clear. Not now, or even, not ever. Listening to the ‘no’ is important, and be sure to understand where the ‘no’ is coming from and why. That is all.

    I believe that we need to lean in more to the Knowing that we have within us. It is there, we need to be still and find it, then trust it. 

    In closing, here is a quote from a book we will be reading called, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice by Terry Tempest Williams:

    For far too long we have been seduced into

    walking a path that did not lead us to ourselves. 

    Far too long we have said yes when we have wanted to say no.

    And for too long we have said no when we have desperately wanted to say yes.

    When we don’t listen to our intuition we abandon our souls.

    And we abandon our souls because we are afraid if we don’t others will abandon us.

    We have been raised to question what we know,

    to discount and discredit the authority of our gut.

    I am growing beyond my own conditioning,

    breaking set with what was breaking me.


    Thank you for spending some time in considering The Body Basics and Beyond Certification Program. Whether you are a yes, maybe or a no, I appreciate your curiosity and time. I trust the authority of your gut.

    In trust and with respect, Karen

    © 2021 by Body Basics and Beyond, LLC


    No retreats currently scheduled. Email inquiries to




    Parent Education & Coaching

    1:1 Coaching Details

    Karen is available to meet with individual parents as a coach in support of the evolving youth and parent relationship. Through conversation, there may be an opportunity to improve communication, adjust expectations or approach challenging parenting situations differently as parents consider the parent/child connection with new possibilities and guidance. Offering a parental perspective outside of a counseling or therapeutic environment is often just the boost or motivation parents need to affect change in day-to-day patterns of relating with their children. As the parent of three adolescents, Karen can offer experience and compassion around parenting challenges for families seeking reflection and understanding.

    Payment arrangements will be discussed prior to scheduling. For more information about coaching with Karen send an email to:

    Parent Village Details

    Parent Villages are parent education evenings offered through schools on topics relevant to families with pre-teens as they prepare for parenting during adolescence.

    {Scroll down for topic options.}

    Parent Villages are part presentation, part group discussion, offering parents the opportunity to be exposed to new parenting concepts as well as participate in guided discussions with other parents beyond their typical social groups. Parent Villages invite parents to open up to new perspectives, values and ideas. Hearing the challenges and experiences of other parents creates a sense of compassion and community around parenting pre-teens and teens.

    Parent Villages are:

    • Open to both public and private schools as parent education evenings
    • Designed for parents with children in grades 6-8, though grade 5 parents are invited if they would like to attend
    • 1.5 to 2 hours in length depending on the size of the village

    Payment arrangements will be discussed prior to scheduling. To schedule a Parent Village please email:

    Parent Evening Details
    No Events Currently Scheduled

    Parent evenings are similar to Parent Villages, but with a smaller groups of parents from across a community, not from just one school. These evenings are opportunities for parents to gather around issues and topics that are relevant in supporting and guiding the youth in their lives as they develop from childhood through adolescence. These evenings provide parents with information to increase their knowledge and confidence around this essential and important time in a youth’s life.

    {Scroll down for topic options.}

    General Information:

    Parent evenings:

    • Happen virtually on Zoom  Meetings
    • Designed for parents with children in grades 5-8 with evenings for parents of 5th & 6th graders and evenings for parents of 7th & 8th graders
    • 1 to 1.5 hours in length depending on the size of the group
    • Are open to parents in other communities and states as well

    Popular Parent Education topics:

    Your Family’s Tech Values

    Parenting a pre-teen would be challenging enough without the world of technology and unfettered access to information parents now have to navigate with their children. All generations of parents are tasked with parenting around issues they didn’t experience as children, but the task of setting and holding tech boundaries in the context of ever changing and intimately entwined technological devices is uniquely urgent. Whether they are in the home or not, these devices and their temptations are in children’s lives and call for parents both individually and as a community to create and maintain cyber values and boundaries.

    Our youth’s emotional, social, physical and developmental health is being challenged as a result of overuse of technology. In the U.S., children ages 8-12 are spending an average of 6 hours a day on screens both at school and in the home. As a result, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents of 5-18 year olds place consistent limits on time spent using any media. Currently they are recommending 1-2 hours per day.

    This Parent Village and Parent Evening focuses on providing context of the youth’s experience of technology while offering actionable suggestions, offering parents actionable suggestions and tools necessary to build a family tech plan for now or for the future. Topics in this village include:

    • Current research on pre-teen and parent phone use
    • Identifying personal and family tech values
    • Family conversation prompts: Tech Talks
    • Book and resource recommendations

    Parent Circle – Sample Discussion Prompts:

    • “What technology do you have in your home and what boundaries do you hold around it?”
    • “How does your use of technology align (or not align) with your tech values? What might your child say about your tech use?”
    Life Conversations at Home: Ongoing Check-Ins with Your Youth

    “How are things going?” is a typical question parents ask in hopes of initiating a conversation with pre-teens and teens. Conversations can quickly freeze with the typical “fine” or “good” response. Though it may appear that youth don’t want to talk to parents, the opposite is true. Of teens interviewed between the ages of 13-20, 80% said it was difficult to talk to their parents about important issues in their lives. Why is this?

    It is common to hear youth state that they just want their parents to listen to them when they bring up an issue or problem, but parents are quick to jump on the “fix it” wagon with advice and action items. Parents tend to label their children as not wanting to talk to them and may even reactively stop checking in with them.

    This Parent Village and Parent Evening focuses on what is and isn’t working when parents check in with youths and offers suggestions for opening communication between them. Topics in this village include:

    • Staying curious vs pushing for information
    • Acknowledging and handling emotional hooks
    • Fostering conversation awareness and management
    • Avoiding loading up chats with topics
    • Chat openers and closers

    Parent Circle – Sample Discussion Prompts:

    • “What is working and what isn’t working in conversations with your child?”
    • “What did conversations with your parents look like? How are you (or aren’t you) bringing those experiences to conversations with your kids?”
    Holding Healthy Boundaries: Preparing for Adolescence
    Can you please add some restrictions to my life?” said no child ever. But that is exactly what they want. In interviews, teens stated that even though they don’t/didn’t like boundaries they repeatedly said that boundaries provided them with a sense of comfort, security and relief.

    Setting boundaries based on parents’ value system is in the job description of “parent” and is essential to the healthy development of youth. It’s important to practice managing boundary testing now when they are children rather than waiting to set and manage limits when they are teens.

    This Parent Village and Parent Evening focuses on the importance and value of creating and holding healthy boundaries for pre-teens. Topics in this village include:

    • Purposeful boundary placement
    • The importance of boundary-push back by children
    • Boundary adjustments: developmentally and for each child
    • Boundaries crossed and consequences

    Parent Circle – Sample Discussion Prompts:
    “What boundaries do you hold with your child?” and “What boundaries does your child challenge the most and how do you hold strong?”
    What boundaries do remember having as a child around this age and how are you parenting in relation to them?”


    We are always adding new topics and areas of engagement. Some topics are more appropriate for specific settings, so we encourage those who are interested to reach out and discuss current options and offerings.

    Some additional areas we cover include:

    • Dad’s and Developing Daughters
    • Parenting: What We Manage & What We Allow
    • Keeping Parents as The Compass Point
    • The Social, Emotional, and Physical Changes of Adolescence

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