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Respect My Body - Protective Behaviors to Empower Kids

In the previous post, in the last week, we discussed some effective ways for parents to safeguard their children at home and prevent any cases of sexual abuse. Today, we will take a look at a lesson plan that educators can utilize in schools. This activity is intended for preschool and first-grade students, aged between 5 and 7 years. It is crucial for educational institutions to incorporate such topics into their curriculum to ensure the safety and well-being of their students and equip them with assertive techniques to establish healthy boundaries.



Goals


- To teach students the importance of personal boundaries and ownership over their bodies, highlighting that no one should touch them without their consent.

- To provide students with effective ways to respond to unsafe or uncomfortable touch, giving them the confidence and ability to protect their personal space.


Resources


  • Book “My body belongs to me,” by Jill Starishevsky (2014)

  • Hand puppets

Starter/Warm-up (5 minutes)


To start the lesson, invite the students to express how they feel and inquire about their sense of safety. Encourage them to explain what safety means to them and give specific examples of situations that could make them feel unsafe.


Main activities (15 minutes)


  • Read the book "My Body Belongs to Me". Through the reading, you can ask questions such as:

    • What should we do if someone tries to touch our bodies without our consent? In the book, one of the strategies mentioned is to "Tell a trusted adult." You can encourage your students to identify adults who can provide help and protection in such situations.

    • What if the person insists by saying, "It's a secret"?

Emphasize the importance of setting boundaries and seeking help when faced with uncomfortable situations.


  • Facilitate an interactive activity using hand puppets to enact a brief skit. The scenario involves one character attempting to touch another in an uncomfortable manner, while the latter character practices assertive responses. Encourage the use of phrases such as "Stop it," "I don't like that," "I am going to tell someone," or "This doesn't feel safe." This roleplay exercise helps students develop and reinforce their ability to express boundaries assertively in challenging situations.


Closure (5 minutes)


At the end of the lesson, please summarize the key concepts as follows:

  • Remind the students that they have control over their own bodies and that nobody should touch them in a way that feels uncomfortable or unsafe.

  • Encourage the students to assertively say NO or STOP if they ever find themselves in uncomfortable situations involving physical contact.

  • Emphasize the importance of the "Tell a trusted adult" strategy as an effective way to seek help if their initial assertiveness fails to resolve the situation.


Follow-up activities


  • Engage students in a discussion about safety, including actions that may make others feel unsafe. Encourage open dialogue and reflections on their own experiences.

  • Review and demonstrate the strategies introduced in the lesson, providing practical examples to reinforce understanding. Practice these assertive responses in various scenarios.

  • Reinforce the lesson's themes by playing the song "My Body is My Body."

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