Open Discussion Forum

Expand all | Collapse all

How do you teach preschoolers about Consent?

  • 1.  How do you teach preschoolers about Consent?

    Posted 29 days ago

    I was never taught about consent. I feel like even to this day, consent is something that people feel uncomfortable discussing with children. This is a huge shame because it's something every human being should know. I want my kids to feel empowered. I want to give them the tools to be safe. So, I come to you to help me figure out how to go about doing this. Please give me all the info you're willing to share with me.



    ------------------------------
    Monica
    Pre-K Teacher
    CA
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: How do you teach preschoolers about Consent?

    Posted 28 days ago
    How are you? 
    Have you seen 1st Step? We used to use it but haven't in a while. It covers quite a bit of what I thi l you are talking about.
    Amy Jarrell





  • 3.  RE: How do you teach preschoolers about Consent?

    Posted 25 days ago
    Amy, Hi, I'm well and I hope you are too. I'm not familiar with first step. Is a video or a program? I tried looking it up but the name is so vague that the results were too broad.

    ------------------------------
    Monica
    Pre-K Teacher
    CA
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: How do you teach preschoolers about Consent?

    Posted 28 days ago
    We talk about this all of the time in play and actively use the word consent about our play and daily interactions.  We model and teach the phrase, "I don't like it when you...." and "Stop."  As a nature-based preschool we utilize opportunities around big body play, chasing games, sticks, etc.  with a low teacher:child ratio we can put ourselves in/near the play and when we note the play might be feeling uncomfortable or we're feeling tensions run high we call a "safety stop" to check in-not to stop play.  Asking both children if they feel safe and "do you like it?  Helping the children make adjustments and advocate for themselves.  We try to avoid shaming and cultivate a space where everyone has a voice.  We'll throw in the word consent so that it is normalized during this process.  We always ask permission before picking up, putting on laps, hugs (preschool).  We blatantly teach the concept of consent during winter and we model asking "do you want to have a snowball fight?" And the kids pretty quickly set up their own rules around snow in face.  This is important and needs to be thoughtfully considered in all that we do.  The hardest for me is when you have a physically aggressive child and trying to manage those big movements.  Getting better and calmer about it as I progress in my teaching practice.  Kudos to you for seeking this discussion.

    ------------------------------
    Meredith Florkey
    Owner
    Ohio Naturally
    Waynesville OH
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: How do you teach preschoolers about Consent?

    Posted 25 days ago
    Meredith, asking if they like it makes lots of sense. To some, their play might look like a conflict but to the children, it's only play. I like the idea of using the word consent. I hadn't thought about doing that because I thought maybe the word was too abstract. But that's why I'm going to teach them the ins-and-outs of it so it becomes concrete! Thanks for that tip.

    ------------------------------
    Monica
    Pre-K Teacher
    CA
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: How do you teach preschoolers about Consent?

    Posted 23 days ago
    Monica
             This comes from  a Blog by Mike Huber.  He wrote  "Embracing Rough And  Tumble  Play. " .  a simple easy read.

    https://embracingroughandtumbleplay.com/2019/04/01/who-has-a-voice/

    ------------------------------
    Curt Kiwak
    Early Childhood Curriculum Service provider
    Tucson Unified School District
    Tucson AZ
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: How do you teach preschoolers about Consent?

    Posted 28 days ago

    Monica:

    Yes--everyone needs to learn about consent.  And as educators, and as parents, we teach consent throughout the day, every day, even when we don't label it as such.  We teach Sex Education 101 from infancy. We teach this when we change a baby's diaper and explain what we are doing as we change them, "I'm putting diaper cream on you now so you don't get a rash.  Closing up the diaper!"  We teach this during toilet learning when we give the correct names for genitals.  We teach it every time we help a child towards independence and self-help because we give them agency over their own bodies,  When we support children to ask another child if they want a hug and that part of the hug is letting go, we're teaching consent.  When we teach children to set their own boundaries by using direct language such as, "Don't push me." or "Stop, I'm using that. Don't take it." or "I need more space now." we're teaching them consent.  I advocate for teaching children clear and direct language rather than vague language such as "I don't like that." or the dreaded "No, thank you."

    The flip side is teaching them that their consent doesn't matter, that their sense of self doesn't matter.  We teach this when we tell children to hug each other, to hug or kiss us.  We teach this as parents when we insist that a child hugs or accepts hugs from other adults.  We're teaching one or the other constantly.

    Some good articles:
    https://www.talkwithyourkids.org/lets-talk-about/healthy-sex-talk-teaching-kids-consent-ages-1-21.html

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/no-means-no-especially-when-it-comes-from-a-child_b_6616288




    ------------------------------
    Aren Stone
    she/her/hers
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: How do you teach preschoolers about Consent?

    Posted 25 days ago
    Brilliant, Aren Stone.  And thank you for your phrase about "No thank you."  That is one of the most misused, confusing, passive phrases ever used in ECE.  We have to teach and empower. Children need to remember not only how to say No, but that others will back them up when they are defending their body or their their self-respect.  Adults are charged with protecting the children in our care.  That includes having a careful, caring ear towards children setting boundaries -- because we then have to be their back-up and tell a child who doesn't stop that, "XYZ told you to stop. You need to stop."  It should be common for teachers to say "His body is his own" and "She said not to break her tower, so give her some space."

    ------------------------------
    Mars April Caulton
    Education Coordinator,
    Mary Crane Centers
    Chicago IL
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: How do you teach preschoolers about Consent?

    Posted 25 days ago
    Aren, correctly naming genitals is so important. I wish we get rid of all the cutesy names. If a person can't feel comfortable saying the name of their privates, then it makes it less likely, in a situation where they were abused, that they would communicate the fact that they were touched. I love that you teach to speak directly. Being direct isn't something that comes naturally to me but it is definitely something that would be helpful to my students. Thanks for sharing that.
    We're teaching one or the other constantly.​


    I think the wrong way is taught way more than the right way. Teaching consent isn't mainstream yet.

    Thanks for the links!



    ------------------------------
    Monica
    Pre-K Teacher
    CA
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: How do you teach preschoolers about Consent?

    Posted 23 days ago
    Hello all,
    As Arren said, consent is being taught through our day-to-day interactions, even if it isn't explicitly taught.  As parents and educators, our most important job is to keep children safe. The children also have a role in helping us keep everyone safe and creating a space where interdependence is key to creating a loving learning community.  Parents get stuck on using polite words at all turns (please, thank you, etc.) and reinforce saying, please stop and no thank you. Yes, these are important phrases for young children to learn, and they can also diminish the power of the words NO and STOP.  At back-to-school night, we let families know the importance of the children understanding if someone is hurting your heart or body, they do not need to be polite. Learning how to say NO assertively and STOP assertively is important. Both words are complete sentences and do not need explanation.

    ------------------------------
    Elizabeth Lasher
    Early Childhood Teacher-Program Director
    Almaden Country Day School
    San Jose CA
    ------------------------------