RICHMOND, JAN. 5 -- A Virginia legislative committee voted 5 to 1 today to recommend state funding for mandatory public school instruction in family life education. The program would begin in kindergarten and introduce the subject of AIDS by the fifth grade.

The joint Senate-House committee to study teen-age pregnancy rejected a suggestion that school systems be allowed to opt out of teaching about contraception, with Sen. Joseph V. Gartlan Jr. (D-Fairfax) saying, "that would be like teaching home economics and eliminating the chapter on how to boil water."

Today's action, which follows a 7-to-2 vote last month by the State Board of Education, means that the future of a state-mandated human life curriculum, as the program is formally known, will likely be fought out in the General Assembly, which will be asked to appropriate $5.5 million in start-up funds.

The proposed curriculum is generally broader than family life courses now offered in many school systems, including those in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties, about on a par with the program in Arlington and less inclusive than Alexandria's program.

The state program permits individual school systems to include other subjects in the family life courses, but mandates teaching in 10 specified areas. In kindergarten, for example, children will learn about "good and bad touches by others" and "how to say no" to inappropriate approaches.

Required subjects include family living and community relations; the value of postponing sexual activity; human sexuality; human reproduction and contraception; the etiology, prevention and effects of sexually transmitted diseases; dealing with peer pressure; development of self-respect and respect for other races, religion and origins; parenting skills; substance abuse, and child abuse.

Del. S. Vance Wilkins Jr. (R-Amherst), who cast today's dissenting vote, said "education without values is valueless." He likened such an approach to "the good but counterproductive education" offered in Nazi Germany.

School Board member Frances Lewis countered that "all of us are sorry we have to do this {teach about contraception} within the school system," but that allowing local school districts to pick and choose from the curriculum would be "the worst option." The Richmond philanthropist said localities "can do as little as they please with their own money."

Gartlan argued that the standards "take no position on right or wrong," and that parents can choose not to have their children attend the classes.

Del. Shirley F. Cooper (D-Yorktown) said she included herself in saying "parents need this program because they don't have the skills to teach their children."