Days are warming quickly here at Tumbleweed, which has us outside as much as possible. We are working on mastering the stairs, exploring the various textures outside and discovering new things. This is also the beginning of our opportunity to practice gentle touches now not just on our friends, but on our outdoor environment.
A phrase that I use frequently in our room is "Gently" This means slow down, notice our friends reaction, where our body is, where our hand is. It is where I start in talking about interactions between each other. It is my goal to bring the children's attention to the effect their movement and actions have, while at the same time allowing and supporting touch in a way that works for everyone.
"You found a leaf. Look how fuzzy it is. You can gently touch it. I won't let you pick it."
"I see you climbing over his body. I'm watching his face. Does it work for him?"
"Oh, gently! Remember you can touch his hair with an open hand, like this."
There are moments where I intervene, usually when fingers are pulling on hair or plucking leaves. In infancy these are the tools for them to interact with intention in their environment and with their peers. It takes repetition and practice, but gives them an early start on building awareness and confidence.