You know in Arrested Development where they're all "NO TOUCHING!" You know? They say that a lot. When that dad is in jail. In preschool, "no" is not a word we like to say. Children don't listen to the word "no". They've heard it so many times it has just become background noise to them. In my center, we use a method called "redirection". Rather than tell them what not to do, we tell them what to do instead.
So rather than shouting "NO TOUCHING!" We say "Oh! Own space!" Meaning the children need to keep their hands to themselves. We say it in the most simple form so they understand at any age.
You think I'd deserve my own space too, right? WRONG. Teacher is one of the few exceptions. No matter how much a teacher says "Own space!" to a child encroaching on their territory, if the child wants to be where you are... You're out of luck.
They'll play with your hair, they'll sit on your lap, they'll cuddle your arm, they'll wrap themselves around your legs whether you want them to or not.
A few days ago I was sitting at the art table, reading some game instructions a kid wanted explained, trying to figure out whether it was pronounced "Picture-ka!" or "Pict-eureka!" I called it "Picture-ka" and instantly regretted it.
While I was sitting there, A1 was drawing a picture of the three of us seated at that table: A1, Miss Lara, and A2. She had already drawn me, as well as herself, all that was left was A2, and she was in the process of interrogating her as to how she wanted to look. Dress? Hair up or down? And what color? Pink?
I was focused on the directions and wasn't paying much attention until A1 reached across the table and grabbed my (if you don't like to read words we're not allowed to say in preschool, stop now) boob! She grabbed my boob! And patted it and said, speaking to A2, "Do you want some of these on your picture?"
A2 said "Yeah!"
I said "WHAT?!"
And they both laughed. And laughed some more. And I just wondered when my "own space" became so small that it didn't even include my own body.
I cleared my throat "Excuse me?"
A2 was giggling up a storm. "Hehehehehehehehe! When I touch those on my mommy, they're all mushy, but when DADDY touches them, they get all big and bouncy!" And she held her arms out in front of her to demonstrate and those two just went off their rockers laughing.
I just hid my face behind the instructions and blushed like an 11 year old standing next to her mom while mom talks to grown ups about her daughters "maturation".
During sports day this week, we did ballet. When we were lining them up, A2 reached up and grabbed me again saying "That's your nose now. I'm touching your nose."
I think I'm going to have to put an end to this. Own space.