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How many people feel that children should not be touched in primary school?

(55 Posts)
jennifersofia Tue 06-Oct-09 13:13:01

Do you feel children should be touched
1) not at all, ever
2) occasionally, depending on circumstance and age. If so, what age and which circumstance?

I am a primary teacher and I touch children (shoulder, back, hand) but I am concerned that some parents might feel this to be inappropriate.

IWantCleanCarpets Tue 06-Oct-09 13:14:46

Yes of course teachers should be able to touch children (in order to carry out their job in the most effective manner).

Drusilla Tue 06-Oct-09 13:15:08

My DS has just started reception and I've seen the TAs pick up and cuddle a couple of children who are really struggling at drop off time. TBH I think it would be inappropriate if they didn't do this

traceybath Tue 06-Oct-09 13:15:14

DS1 is Y1 and in reception was frequently touched, ie, hugged etc. I think this is fine and to be encouraged especially if child upset.

However not keen on 'touching' as discipline. As another thread shows - where does a tap become a smack.

TheWebster Tue 06-Oct-09 13:16:42

3) whenever my child needs it/the teacher fels it necc/anytime at all.

What an awful country we live in if everyone is no longer going to touch/cuddle our children.

prettybird Tue 06-Oct-09 13:16:56

Children should absolutely be touched. It's a basic human need - and perefectly normal.

I think our current obsession with the fear of being perceived to be acting inappropriately is iteslef what is harming children as they are no longer being exposed to normal human interactions

luckyblackcat Tue 06-Oct-09 13:17:20

I'm obviously very old fashioned, my DS goes to a school where DC are cuddled and I love it and so does he - when he is sad (fallen over or missing me) he likes to be comforted.

Allowed to sit on laps in pre-school, haven't seen it in reception but I'm sure it isn't banned. There is a male staff member in preschool, all the DC fight to hold his hand.

CuppaTeaJanice Tue 06-Oct-09 13:17:56

I think research has shown touching to be a positive thing, that's why they're bringing massage into a lot of schools.

Any parent who thinks touching is inappropriate or 'sexual' is misguided.

Iklboo Tue 06-Oct-09 13:18:54

Erm - and what would be the alternative? A plastic bubble or a coat of Cuprinol?
If DS is upset/fallen over I would definitely want a teacher to give him a reassuring hug or hold his hand in the playground

TheFoosa Tue 06-Oct-09 13:18:57

my dd had an accident at school, she was ok but shocked

the only male shock teacher picked her up and gave her a hug

I was very glad he did

WartoScreamo Tue 06-Oct-09 13:19:50

God everyone here kisses everybody else. All the time! Teachers kiss the pupils. Pupils kiss the teachers and support staff. Cuddles are quite normal for the little ones.

I'm still seen as a strange foreigner as I don't do the morning tour of the office kissing everyone as I go. Everyone else does it.

Why are people so scared of touching? I appreciate that there are parts of the body that it is inappropraite to touch in many cirmcumstances, but that is easily explained to a small child. "Private".

AMumInScotland Tue 06-Oct-09 13:20:36

I am an adult and I sometimes touch my colleagues - I think something would have gone very wrong with the world if staff in school were completely banned from touching children. A pat on the back, a touch on the hand or arm, a cuddle if they fall or are upset - why would anyone think there was anything wrong in an adult showing care for a child with that sort of touch?

I think that all of those are fine at any age, though the cuddle less so as they get older, but still if they had a bad fall or a nasty fright and it felt appropriate then I don't see why not.

I used to accompany trips as a parent helper and wouldn't hesitate to hug the smaller ones, but the bigger ones mostly got a reassuring hand on the back or shoulder!

verygreenlawn Tue 06-Oct-09 13:20:44

I absolutely approve of my dcs being touched at school when they are in need of comfort, to praise and encourage, and as someone else said as part of a general human need for contact. Luckily I'd say our school is really very good at this - I've never heard any concern raised about touching, and it would make me very sad if I had.

Ds1 had a tough year last year and I think he would've found it hard to get through without his lovely smiley touchy TA.

EightiesChick Tue 06-Oct-09 13:21:39

I wouldn't ever find the kind of touching you describe inappropriate. And cuddles too might well be a good idea at times. They are still only little kids! It is a real shame that teachers are put in an awkward position around this sort of thing.

mackerel Tue 06-Oct-09 13:25:23

I think it is desperately sad that teachers do not feel able to hug or touch children because of it being misinterpreted. Touch is so important, particularly at times of stress - and foundation/key stage 1 is pretty stressful for lots of kids. I was seriously ill in hospital for 3 wks and during that time not one nurse held my hand or stroked my hair and I found the lack of contact q. distressing (and I'm not massively touch feely)- I had to ask a nurse to hold my hand during a painful procedure and she actually asked someone if that was ok and acceptable. I would hate my children to be upset at school and not be cuddled by their teacher or TA.

jobhuntersrus Tue 06-Oct-09 13:28:30

I most defintely feel teachers should be able to touch chilldren. A hug when they are upset, a friendly hand on the shoulder whilst helping them with their work or holding their hand to lead them somewhere. Obviously I don't want my child hit or manhandled but if they would not sit where they were told or kept turning round I would not have a problem with the teacher gently physicaly putting them where they should be.

BloodshotEyeballs Tue 06-Oct-09 13:29:57

No dcs at school yet but every time I drop dd off at nursery one of the staff there always picks her up and gives her a big cuddle (she's always v upset at being left ).

I'd also hate the idea that a child would be upset or hurt and teachers weren't allowed to comfort them.

PerryPlatypus Tue 06-Oct-09 13:30:12

Touching is absolutely fine IMO. I like the fact that staff at our primary school hug children if/when it's needed/wanted.

Pyrocanthus Tue 06-Oct-09 13:33:23

I'd like to think the precise circumstances in which it is acceptable to touch a child shouldn't have to be spelled out, but perhaps that's the way things are. I think normal human interaction is fine - reassuring pat on the back, gentle rearrangement of children in corridor, firmly restraining hand on child about to run in front of school bus.

<Remembers DD2 (then year 4) and her favouritest ever teacher having a good weep and a cuddle on teacher's last day.>

I understand the arguments for protecting children and teachers by avoiding any physical contact. Does it make you feel very self-conscious, as a teacher, jennifersofia? How are you supposed to know how parents might react to any sort of contact?

(By asking on here, obviously.)

OtterInaSkoda Tue 06-Oct-09 13:33:55

mackerel that reminds me of when I was recovering in hospital from a rather traumatic op. The nurse took my hand and sat with me while I sobbed. I am eternally grateful for the compassion she showed and I will never forget it.
I find it bizarre that in some school hugs and so on are actively banned. On the other hand I empathise with teachers getting peed off with dcs hanging on their clothes and stroking their hair. It would drive me nuts grin

southernbelle77 Tue 06-Oct-09 13:35:38

How strange to think that touching in these circumstances could be seen as wrong, especially when the children first start school and need reassurance.

verygreenlawn Tue 06-Oct-09 13:42:28

That being said, I guess there may be parents who have personal - very private - reasons of their own for not encouraging physical contact. Those reasons should be respected if made clear, although in my view physical contact should be the norm.

Hulababy Tue 06-Oct-09 13:43:03

I have a 7y DD in school, and I also work as a TA in a Y1 class.

Of course teachers should be touching children, appropriately of course (does that even need adding???)

As a TA I often have teary children sat on my knee, Y1/2 children giving me hugs if they see me in the play ground, a ruffle of hair as I pass, a guiding hand on a shoulder or back, etc. It is part of my job surely.

I would be upset if my DD's teachers were unable to comfort her or give her a reassuring pat.

TBH even when I taught in secondary (was a teacher) I touched my students - again, if upset, a pat on the shoulder, etc.

Only place I have worked in a no touch zone was in a male prison - and that was for security reasons. It still felt odd, not even being able to shake a hand.

colditz Tue 06-Oct-09 13:44:07

One of my favourite teachers at school used to ram the year 6 girls heads into his armpits after playing cricket. He was lovely ... very 'daddish'.

LadyMuck Tue 06-Oct-09 13:45:55

I think that the difficulty is more about what level of touch is acceptable in the case of challenging behavior. To what extent can you restrain a child physically who is about to injure another child say? Or being able to touch a child so that they are giving you there attention? when does guiding a child back to their seat become manhandling?

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