When Sandy invited me into her kindergarten classroom to co-teach an iPad lesson, I thought it’d be a fun opportunity to not only visit a friend, but to engage with some littles.
Let me just start by saying, I could never teach kindergarten. Kinder teachers have such a unique job – they are not only teaching academic standards, but they’re teaching how to do school, how to be a friend, how to eat a meal without adult help, and so many other essential life skills. All while cutting out circles, singing songs to gather student attention, and blowing noses of sick students.
I was exhausted and I only helped out for an hour!
What stood out to me the most from this morning, though, was how Sandy was teaching students about consent. When we talk about teaching consent, most people equate it to sexual consent and they bristle at the idea of it being taught in school.
But consent is so much more than that. A Harvard University newsletter article by Grace Tatter defined consent as “the notion that we should respect one another’s boundaries, in order to be safe, preserve dignity, and build healthy relationships.”
Today, the classroom lesson was focused on taking good photos with the iPad. The life lesson, however, was about consent. Sure, students learned how to get in closer to the subject, and how to take a non-blurry photo. But more importantly, they learned to ask permission before taking the photo.
Sandy: What do we say before we take a photo?
Class: May I please take your photo?
Sandy: And what if the person says no? Is that okay?
Class: Yes, it’s okay to say “No thank you.”
As the students practiced their iPad photo taking skills, I watched them practice using consent language. Not only were they asking for permission to take the photo, but they were asking if the photo was acceptable. These are huge life skills, and they’re starting at age five.
When I said my goodbyes to the class, Sandy once again modeled consent.
Sandy: Miss Laura, is it okay if I hug you goodbye?
Me: Yes it is.
What a powerful lesson these students are learning. Social-emotional learning takes on many forms, and for Sandy’s class, it’s just a natural part of their kindergarten day.
You’re a rock star Sandy!
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