From the beginning until the end, touch is so important. I love this photo of our preschoolers lining up to give one of their very favorite teachers, our music teacher, a tight squeeze of a hug. Our music teacher is retiring after over twenty years of sharing her love of music with so many children. When you look at the face of the teacher, you can see how much each hug means to her. Her smile is so big, yet she is also close to tears. All of the other teachers were close to tears, too, and then one of the kindergarteners piped up with, “I won’t say goodbye because I know I’ll see you around.” That made us all feel much better.
One of my very, very good friends starts each year with her preschool class with a footprint painting activity. The children take off their shoes and socks, and take turns stepping into a basin of paint, and then walking along a long stretch of white paper to leave a trail of footprints. At the end of the stretch of paper is a chair, a bucket of warm water, soap and a towel. My friend carefully washes and dries all of the feet of the new children in her class, and in so doing begins to build a sense of trust between herself and each child. Each child gets a little bit of undivided attention, too. What a great way to start off a school year.
A friend commented on a recent post about how in so many settings, children are no longer hugged or touched. One of the perks of my job is that it comes with a liberal sprinkling of hugs throughout the day. The human touch is an important way to establish and maintain bonds. To be a child and not be able to give and receive hugs is too sad.
Tight Squeeze June 10, 2012