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child sitting on teachers knee

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Pow, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. So if there is a policy which itemises appropriate contact and makes clear which behaviour could be misinterpreted then this would be supportive information.
    I am going to give you an example of a scenario I have encountered in more than one setting.
    NN continues to fondle and fuss Samantha's hair during whole class time . Samantha has not asked for this to happen but seems to be enjoy it . NN puts Smantha on her lap to further fiddle with hair as it is easier to "groom " her hair this way. Sam is a child who functions well in the classroom and is independent. NN ignores behaviour of more demanding children in the class. This pattern continues over a week or so. Samantha starts to expect physical contact with NN who encourages her to sit on her lap. If teacher asks NN to move elsewhere to break up this pattern, Samantha starts to weep and NN then puts her on her lap to comfort her and claims she cannot leave her.
    Teacher speaks with NN who claims that physical contact is essential in childcare using all the valid arguments that have been give here.
    To me the above example is very different to the child sponateously jumping up on lap or the passing hug intitiated by the child. NNs behaviour is not abusive but the need for physical contact is coming from her not the child.
    If there were a policy about appropraite physical contact wouldn't that be easier for all concerned ?
  2. I would say so.

    It has been mentioned before in this thread that if contact is to take place teachers and carers should be careful not to show favouritism avoid the situation you have described.

    A policy that accepts physical contact is necessary and so advises teachers and cares on how, when and what they can and can't do.

    But would that be a school or national policy?
  3. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I'm not convinced, Hedda. Surely the TA you describe has [ugh, sorry] "neediness issues" that should be dealt with on an individual basis? I know that policies are a good way of protecting an establishment from unfair charges of bad practice, but wouldn't a 'no cuddles' policy be something of a hard law?
  4. I don't think I mean a no cuddles policy but a policy that might indicate what the setting deems appropriate.
    For instance I think that "kissing" a child as mentioned by another poster as acceptable is totally inappropriate.
  5. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    "By telling your music teachers they should avoid any physical contact with children, it sends out completely the wrong message that any adult who touches a child is somehow guilty of inappropriate conduct.
    "We must move away from this presumption and the Department of Education is taking steps to restore common sense to the whole area."
    "If we stigmatise and seek to restrict all physical contact between responsible adults and children we will only undermine healthy relations between the generations," Mr Gove said. It would also make children "more suspicious about adults and adults more nervous and confused about their role in our society".
    Let common sense rule not paranoia
  6. inky

    inky Lead commenter

  7. The trouble is chaps on this issue is common sense enough ?
  8. katycustard

    katycustard Occasional commenter

    Hedda, I would have been appalled if my daughter's key worker had not kissed her when she was a baby in day care. I have parents suggesting/telling/asking their children to give their teacher a kiss bye-bye. If the teacher is happy with this, usually a peck on the cheeks, I am not going to ask parents or children not to do this.
    I do know what you mean about a teacher/NN/TA inappropriately meeting their needs through the children, I had a colleague who only worked with the 'pretty' girls, until this was pointed out to her, but I don't think a school policy would necessarily help.
  9. Going back to common sense for just a moment.
    I think that from other posts on other threads that inky, katy, Msz have that common sense in spade loads and my common sense is pretty good. ( I am not dsimissing the common sense of other posters but the above post more frequently.)
    We are differing here on this issue and these differences happen outside the real world of settings..
    If in the real world if I had a setting policy that said inititaing kisses with pupils was encouraged, I would put aside my own " common sense" and not challenge that practice in the setting. If it is left to my own judgement than I would challenge the practice both lead professional and foot soldier.
    If you have not expereinced staff meeting their own comfort needs through cuddling and stroking children than I can't quite explain it and you have been fortunate to work with very professional support staff.
    I agree a no touch policy is wrong but a policy which identifies what is considered appropriate adult initiated touching/ contact in a setting might be useful.
  10. Common sense isn't real sense. At different times the dictates of common sense have said different things. It is not common sense now to believe that witches can give the evil eye but it has been in the past.
    The issue of practitioners gaining comfort from physical contact with children, which Hedda has brought up, is a sensible, realistic one, but a lot of people who believe they have common sense will dismiss it. You have to reflect thoughtfully on staff behaviour to become aware of it, looking under the surface of the person who is warm and touchy-feely with children. Of course there is nothing wrong with cuddling children if they are OK with it, but shouldn't we reflect on what is in the child's interests as opposed to the adult's? And then make decisions based on the child's interests. In a school setting the child needs to know they are physically independent of the adults and gradually become autonomous individuals.
    In addition, some practitioners cuddle and hug children because they have a somewhat sentimentalised view of what caring for children consists of. It is felt that a cuddle is appropriate because the child is little, sweet and helpless. But it may activiely fail in meeting the needs of a child who may benefit more, when upset, from being reassured that their feelings are OK and that have have the ability to cope with them. The practitioner might do better in talking through the feelings and offering coping strategies.
    I would use the touchstone of whether the physical contact is sought by the child or imposed by the adult, without including in that the gentle touch to the shoulder or stroke of the arm which is a natural non-verbal cue (which we do with those we are familiar with, children and adults alike). Where the physical comfort of sitting on a lap is sought that need should be met briefly, with a view to moving on from that through other strategies as a priority.

  11. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I was never common sense that witches can give the evil eye only superticious fear that those in the past dismissed as such.
  12. Common sense is, if you like, the sense held in common. It is used as shorthand for " this doesn't have to be proved, because it is generally believed." When we refer to'common sense' it is a qualitative statement assuming that a belief that is held in common must be OK. This justifies a view that anyone who asserts something that goes against common sense is a bit weird and different, their viewpoint nonsensical.
    I think you will find that views such as witches giving the evil eye were 'common sense' in the past (have you read Macbeth?
  13. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    common sense in this respect means sound judgement .. nous or gumption if you prefer
    The original 14th century meaning is using all of the five senses nothing to do with belief
  14. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    yes I've read Macbeth (my class studied it last year) it's a bit like saying that common sense today is that vampires walk the earth based on Twilight
  15. Yet here we have judgement that differs. It might differ because of professional or personal expereince.
    I think that this where a " local" policy for settings would be of benefit.
  16. Never mind the 14th century. Nowadays common sense, especially as used in government sound bites, has everything to do with belief.

    Your definition begs the question of how one judges what is sound judgement.
  17. Thumbie, that is what I feel too and had been fumbling around trying to put into words. Ta.
  18. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Hedda I think you have to do what you feel comfortable with (as I said earlier) and if that is hugging or having children on your lap fine if you aren't then that's fine too but to formalise such things in a policy is depressing.
    I do however think some people are afraid to hug or touch children out of an irrational fear that they me be prosecuted not because they don't want to. It is in my opinion a lamentable indication of the state of the society in which we now live that people feel this way.
  19. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I disagree that even the government use "common sense" meaning a shared belief as attested by the need to create DC's Big Society.

  20. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I would suggest that any teacher trying to impose hugs, kisses or lap sitting on any child is sorely lacking in common sense.

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