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Exploring Consent and Power in Preschool

by Mike Huber
March/April 2019
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/exploring-consent-and-power-in-preschool/5024614/

Three-year-olds Juanita and Hektor are often frustrated when they try to join the play of their classmates. When Juanita wants to play with other children, she often grabs toys from their hands. Meanwhile, Hektor is not always aware of non-verbal cues from others. Once he put a toy otoscope on Tou’s ear. When Tou told Hektor to stop, Hektor simply said, “But you’re sick.” Tou moved away, but Hektor followed him, pushing the otoscope onto his ear until a teacher had to intervene.

Their teacher, Sonia, worried about Juanita and Hektor. From her perspective, Juanita and Hektor were impulsive, at best, and aggressive. Sonia tried several strategies, but nothing seemed to work. One day, several weeks into the school year, Sonia noticed a change. 

Hektor pointed his finger at Juanita. “Bang!” Before Sonia could intervene, Juanita smiled and pointed her finger at Hektor. Soon they were chasing each other around the room, pretending to shoot each other for the next 30 minutes. They never bumped into anyone else. They smiled at each other throughout the game.

It seems like Juanita and Hektor solved the problem without their teacher’s help, but the fact that Sonia did not intervene was as ...

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