In our very first episode of Hello Gardeners, we received a weed from Alexandra that said:
We hear about this a lot - classmates invading personal space, annoying us by touching us, or getting in our faces. Understanding the value of personal space is a lesson that everyone learns on their own time, but it is an essential lesson to learn nonetheless. We all have different boundaries - some of us show affection and friendship through holding hands or giving piggy-backs, while others don’t really like being touched.
Until we understand our friends’ boundaries, it’s important we ask permission when we want to get in his or her personal space and respect their decision whether it's “yes” or “no”.
What does permission look like?
Well, it can be as simple as asking, “can I hold your hand?” or “can you give me a piggy-back ride” - rather than just grabbing someone’s hand or jumping on their back. If someone is invading your space and you don’t like it, you can always say “I don’t want to” or “no, I don’t like doing that”.
Learning to respect other peoples’ boundaries is just as important as learning to respect your own!
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As an educator, you can always offer your students alternative actions - for example you could say, “It looks like Chris doesn’t want a hug right now, how about you wave good-bye instead?” Or, “Alexandra doesn’t like it when you bump into her - would you mind giving her a little more space and saying ‘excuse me’ when you want to get past her?”
Another great way to plant the seed of permission, is with “Morning Greetings”. Many of us have seen these videos - teachers place signs outside their doors that say wave, fist bump, high-five, dance, hug, etc. Have the students line up outside your classroom door and pick a greeting. The kids then get to choose how they want to engage with you - some days they may want to hug, other days they may want to wave.
Here is an example of Morning Greetings if you haven't seen it!
Teaching our young gardeners these lessons now will not only help them respect others more, communicate more clearly, and avoid misunderstandings when they are older, but it will also allow them to understand their own boundaries!
👈👈👈 Feel free to use these signs to start your own morning greetings!