With the rise of the #MeToo movement in society, everyone should be aware of the importance of consent.
While it’s imperative that we start teaching our children this crucial lesson at an early age, some people may find it difficult to explain it to the youngsters in a child-friendly way.
However, one elementary school teacher from Los Angeles, California found a solution on how to educate her students on consent, in a way their young minds can clearly understand.
All About Consent
Liz Kleinrock is a first to fourth grade teacher at World Charter School Silver Lake, and along with teaching the mandatory subjects such as English and math, she has also taught her students what consent is, through a simple chart.
Kleinrock posted the chart on Instagram and Facebook, which was divided into five sections and written in simple words for her eight and nine-year-olds to understand.
The chart details what it means to give consent, what it sounds like, when we need it, and what to say if they don’t want to give it.
Kleinrock explained that she was inspired by the media coverage of Supreme Court judge Brett Kavanaugh and the allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
“I think whenever I tend to look at things spiraling in society, particularly political events that are going on, I like to think about what kind of foundational skills should have been in place earlier to prevent these things from happening,” Kleinrock told HuffPost.
“I look happy and positive, but the words coming out of my mouth are still no.”
Along with introducing her students to her chart, Kleinrock also had the kids writing activity on consent and had them engage in role-playing scenario, where she asked them for a hug.
“I’m saying the word ‘yes,’ but my tone and my body language are so clearly uncomfortable so I ask, ‘Can you read my body? Can you read my face? How do you think I’m actually feeling?”’ she shared..
“Or I’m laughing and saying, ‘No, not right now.’ I look happy and positive, but the words coming out of my mouth are still no. It’s the tone and delivery.”
Although when we think about consent, many of us will immediately think about intimate actions, but Kleinrock said she never broached the subject of sex with her students.
“People seem to have a really hard time with this because of the connection between consent and sex, but it never crossed my mind to talk about sex with my class,” she explained.
“My students are eight and nine years old. It’s really about respecting space and physical boundaries and interacting with each other.”
Consent: Secret vs. Surprises
In another post, Kleinrock shared another chart she introduced to her students, which explained that there are “secrets” are something you need consent to tell,. She outlined the difference between on someone conducting dangerous behavior vs. tattling on a classmate.
This isn’t the first time Kleinrock has used a simple chart to teach her students about other real world issues, such as racism, stereotypes, privilege, the Holocaust, and slavery, which she also shared on her social media accounts.
“I’m going to say this for the rest of my life: When there are persistent issues in a society, you can’t hope to fix them unless you actually talk about what they are,” she said.