Saturday, February 16, 2013

Gentle Hands - Teaching Appropriate Touch

       Hit!  Pinch!  Kick!  Punch!
                                      Wow!  Bam!  Pow!  Slam!

Miss Carole from Macaroni Soup here.  What’s happening in our classrooms?  Why are Kindergarteners getting into fist fights?  Why can a three year old go home with bite marks?  What made that child so mad at me that they roared with bared teeth 2 inches from my face?

                          Time Out Everyone!

    As an early childhood music specialist, my time each day with a class is limited to 20 – 45 minutes most of the time.  USUALLY we sing, dance and learn without negative behavior.  Chalk that up to the serotonin released during active participation in music!  But every now and then, ZOWIE!  Faster than you can intervene a child body-slams a classmate into the floor!  What was THAT for?

     Many times it’s exuberance.  Sometimes it’s anger or frustration.  I’m not a psychologist, and there are many solutions to try.  But that’s a subject for another month.  Today I’d like to concentrate on how we can teach and model touching each other in appropriate ways that feels good and positive with simple activities.  I use the phrase “gentle hands”.

     Then we can start working with gentle touch with each other.  My favorite ending to class is either of the spoken pieces below.  Pair the children with a partner.  As you can see, my parent/child classes LOVE this activity!  It’s more than a tickle – and when done as a group, it’s also a chance to learn to stay together as a group, listening to others as you draw on a partner’s back.

Criss Cross, Apple sauce                          
Cool breeze!
      A child sits facing another child’s back to draw on it. With older children, this can be done in a continuous line,  switching direction after completing the verse and repeat.
   SAY                            DO
Criss cross               (draw X)
Applesauce               (tap shoulders)
Spiders crawling up your back! 
                                    (walk fingers up back)
Cool breeze              (blow on neck)
Tight squeeze           (hug)
And now you’ve got the shivers! 
                                    (lightly tickle person)
A circle and a dot!

      SAY                        DO                             
X marks the spot                   (make an “x” with your finger) 
A circle and a dot!                 (make a circle, then dot the center)
The ants go marching up your back.    (crawl fingers up back)
Rain falls down                           (tickle fingers from neck) downward)   
Plants grow up!                    (drag pointer finger up the spine)
1 – 2 – 3 – 4   GOTCHA!     (pat shoulders alternately, then    
                                                  hug from behind!)

    Once your students get good at this type of activity, start adding circle and partner dances.  These help children learn to hold hands without squeezing, walk together without dragging, and clap hands with a partner without hurting.

    To hear the above chants, please go to my Macaroni Soup! website’s Recordings page.  Criss Cross, Applesauce is on my  “Sticky Bubble Gum” cd, and X Marks the Spot is on “Baloney!”

    When I do concerts, I often walk through the audience giving “high 5’s” to the kids in the audience before the show.  Should a child wind-up by pulling the hand behind their head to give me a whopper high-5, I quickly put my hand down and remind them “High 5’s should not hurt.  Let’s try that again!”  It’s amazing how quickly they learn to use those gentle hands!

     Recently the online community at The Children’s Music Network has been discussing the topic of aggressive and negative behavior in the classroom.  There are wonderful suggestions from teachers all over the country – join CMN and access this tremendous online resource!

    Okay!  I’ve kept it simple this month.  Let me know how it goes with the children in your care!  I would also love to hear what kind of interactive games, songs or chants you use for teaching appropriate touch!

Yours for a Song!
Miss Carole Stephens
Macaroni Soup! Active Music for Kids!

Oh - and this is the REAL Audrey - 
she's as gentle and nice as they come!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for your post! I have been struggling in my class trying to teach "gentle hands". The boys just don't seem to get it. I can't wait to try these songs in my class and see how they react!!


We would love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave a comment below....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...