Thursday, January 10, 2008

Is this the next step in the sex ed debate?

Yesterday in my classroom, my co-teacher had to sit the whole class down and talk to them about not kissing each other. Apparently, she had noticed it and a parent had mentioned something about it. I hadn't noticed any kids kissing and from the examples she was making it seemed like it was like five or six kids in a class of 17, so I am not sure it is widespread, but still apparently it was happening. Now I must tell you that kissing in preschool is kind of like sex in high school, it is a big no no and parents and staff can tend to flip out over it.I could go into a whole thing about is a class meeting, really necessary for this small a sample of kids and stuff, but I wouldn't as most of you probably are not that interested in it and that is not really what I want to focus on. At one point in the discussion/lecture, my co-teacher noted that in addition to the spread of germs, they were too young to kiss.

The kids kept saying I kiss my mommy, my daddy, my brother, my sister, whatever and the response was, "Well I don't care what you do at home, but you can't do it here at school." Luckily for me I was cleaning the room up after morning snack and could hide for a few minutes while I just laughed at this, they are too young for kissing? And you don't care what they do at home? Hmmmmm... well what they do at home is going to affect them at school. In fact many of the parents, say to their children before they leave in the morning, "Give me a kiss and a hug." So then of course this is seen as a positive thing and they want to give their friends hugs and kisses, it is something you do with someone you like/love. They understand that they kiss mommy and daddy and they understand that mommy and daddy kiss, so then why shouldn't they kiss their friends? I understand the spread of germs argument and it is valid and it is something we try to avoid, but it seems to be bigger than this. It really seemed to be an issue cause some of the boys were running around kissing each other and well that means the boys must be gay, right. I mean if they kiss other boys they have to b gay, never mind the fact that they do not think about their own sexuality that way yet. I am not arguing that some children may know they are gay even as young as 4 or 5, but I would guess that they see it as they feel kind of strange or different, I would venture that these feelings really solidify around puberty as do the feelings of heterosexual individuals.

Isn't this a version of abstinence only education? You are allowed to kiss and show affection only to your parents. We say hugging is allowed, but not kissing. This is sending a mixed message to kids. They do not understand the not sharing germs thing, really, at least in my experience and kissing is just something they do to show that they like someone. As a society, we need to get over ourselves and start allowing children and all people to be able to be comfortable with their bodies and themselves.

OT: I have been thinking about creating a whole nother blog for just these issues, early childhood things, but I have not decided yet. So if you have an opinion either way, let me know in comments. If you like reading my occasional thoughts on being a preschool teacher here than say so, if you would rather I take this over to another blog and really dedicate a blog to these issues, let me know that as well.


FranIAm said...

Fascinating. Wow... the things one never thinks about if one is not around kids.

As for another blog, I think if you can find the time and energy that you should do it Boxer. You have a great voice in your writing and you have amazing insights about kids.

I send you good thoughts as you decide!

Anonymous said...

It's so hard to decide what to tell you own kids about this kind of thing, I'd really struggle with what to tell other people's kids.

You are such a good teacher to be working with little kids and to be thinking about all the aspects of teaching them. At their age, it's not just reading, writing and arithmetic. You're really teaching them social skills that will stay with them their whole lives.

As for another blog, I agree with Fran, but either way, keep writing about early childhood ed.

Comrade Kevin said...

The way you describe it, their behavior seems just seems so, well, innocent. I doubt any of them meant any harm by it all.

I suppose in a situation like that it's important what you say to correct it and HOW you say it. People are so suspicious and paranoid these days, particularly school systems, so I can understand why people would automatically push the panic button when something like this happened.