Third-Grade Teacher's Simple Chart Teaches Students All About Consent

"When there are persistent issues in a society, you can’t hope to fix them unless you actually talk about what they are."

In light of recent political events, the #MeToo movement, and accusations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh, it's more important than ever we support survivors of assault, have open discussions about the issue, and educate people about what consent means. Learning about consent can't happen too early, so third-grade teacher, Liz Kleinrock, is teaching her class a lesson on consent using a very simple chart. 

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The teacher at the Citizens of the World Charter School Silver Lake in Los Angeles shared the chart on Instagram and explained the inspiration. "Everything about Kavanaugh in the news has been making me HEATED," she explained. 

"So whenever I get frustrated about the state of our country, it inspires me to proactively teach my kids to DO BETTER."

"Today was all about CONSENT. We even explored the grey areas, like if someone says 'yes' but their tone and body language really says 'no.'"

She added, "Role playing is a great way to reinforce these skills, but they MUST be taught explicitly!"

The chart defines consent and breaks it down into groups including: "What does consent sound like?" "When do we need to ask consent?" "What can you do if you do not give consent?" and "What if?"

Kleinrock continued to discuss how she taught her 8 and 9-year-old students consent in a Teaching Tolerance article.

The teacher wrote, "For a lot of adults, the idea of addressing consent with children is alarming because of the relationship between consent and sex. However, it's important to break down the concept of consent regarding boundaries, comfort, physical interactions and mutual respect before even getting into the subjects of sex, romantic relationships or toxic masculinity."

In elementary school classrooms, one of the first social emotional topics covered is the importance of keeping our hands and feet to ourselves and respecting others' personal space," she explains.

Kleinrock says sex isn't even something she would consider bringing up to the class. They focus on redirecting communicating things physically by encouraging verbal communications and talking about "safe physical interactions that occur daily in the classroom and outside at recess."

She detailed the class's brainstorming sessions, role playing methods and suggested books that highlight consent.

After the post received a supportive response, Kleinrock shared another chart on consent.

This one detailed consent "secrets" and "surprises." Kleinrock explained, "Today we discussed the difference between secrets and surprises, and differentiated between information you should share, and what you shouldn't share. As always, I'm striving to reflect and improve my lessons and practice, and I feel good that my kids walked away today knowing these differences."

Kleinrock told HuffPost that she is committed to talking about important issues with her students including consent, privilege, stereotypes and discrimination.

"I'm going to say this for the rest of my life: When there are persistent issues in a society, you can’t hope to fix them unless you actually talk about what they are."

Cover image via  Africa Studio I Shutterstock

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