In the session, children will:
 learn that they need to obtain permission before tickling or doing other forms of touching, and that they have the right not to be tickled (or hugged etc.) if they do not consent to it [Knowledge and Understanding]
 practise how to ask someone if they’d like something, and how to say no if they wouldn’t like something [Skills Development]
 think and talk about why someone is not a spoilsport for not wanting you to tickle/hug them, and why it is brave to stand up for yourself and others [Values and Attitudes]
Resources for the session:
Ask First, Monkey! book; ideally a monkey puppet or soft toy (or if not, a printed picture of Monkey/a drawing of a monkey character big enough to hold up to the class, backed with cardboard or laminated); a whiteboard/blackboard to make lists
Rationale for using the book:
Ask First, Monkey! is a story about a child (monkey) who loves tickling and knows just how great a tickler he is (lots of people tell him so, lots of people laugh when he tickles them) –so he thinks that he can tickle whoever he wants, whenever he likes. The child reader goes on a journey with the monkey who eventually comes to understand that not everyone wants him to tickle them and that however good he thinks he is at it and however much fun it is for him, it’s only ok to tickle people who are happy to be tickled.
Children can see he’s funny and silly and they can learn with him without feeling judged for their own less-than-fully developed understanding of consent. This increases the chance of the concept really being taken on board by young children who will not feel reprimanded by the book.
Lesson on consent and boundaries –and asking first
Show the children the book cover
· What is the story called?
· What do you think the story is about?
o Prompts: what is Monkey doing? [tickling Goat]
o Does Goat like it? [No] How can you tell? [doesn’t look happy]
o Why do you think it’s called Ask First, Monkey!
Read the book:
· Ask again why it’s called Ask First, Monkey!
· Introduce the word permission
o What does permission mean? [asking if it’s ok to do something; saying it’s ok for someone to do something]
· Use a toy monkey or a monkey puppet and get Monkey to ask the children in the class for advice on what he should have done at different points in the story and why [helping with Knowledge and Understanding]
o Eg, turn to page where Monkey tickles Cow and have your Monkey puppet/toy ‘look’ at the page, and say something enthusiastically, like ‘Oooh I LOVE tickling! Look at me tickling Cow! I’m sure she’s going to love it. Everyone loves it…’ then ask the children: ‘Wait, DOES she love it? [children say no] How do you KNOW that? [she’s saying Stop tickling me] ‘Oh, that’s not good. I’d better try harder [turn the page]. Should I give her a feather tickle instead?’ [respond to children’s responses]
o Still as Monkey: ‘Let’s go back [turn page back] What should I have done instead?’ [Asked first –prompt the children if they don’t mentioning asking]. ‘Can you all say: ASK FIRST, MONKEY! ?... [children say ‘Ask first, Monkey!’] Sorry, what was that? Can you say it again, really loud? [children shout ‘Ask first, Monkey!’] ‘Yes, you’re right. I should have asked first. I need to remember that. Can you remember that, too –to ask first before you tickle or hug someone?’
· Have the children talk as a class or in groups about things they like and things they don’t like (with the teacher making a list, whether or not the children can read)–and see that not everyone likes the same things [Knowledge and Understanding]
· Get the children to practise different ways of saying yes and no to Monkey when he asks them questions relating to the things up on the list, above [Skills Development]
· Get the children to ask what Monkey does and doesn’t like. Acting as Monkey, tell the children that he likes tickles and hugs but he doesn’t like ice cream –which he will over-react to ‘I HATE it! Eugh! Don’t put it anywhere near me! It’s so soft, and cold and CHOCOLATEY –YUCK!’-kind of thing). Ask (as the teacher, rather than Monkey) Who likes ice cream? [lots of children will], and then say Ice cream is really popular. Lots of people love it…so is it ok to feed Monkey some ice cream? [discuss it with the class]
· Children work in pairs to play a pretend asking game relating to the things people like or dislike –where the children take turns in asking would you like some chocolate/some broccoli/to be tickled/me to play with your hair etc.? and answering them [Skills Development] [note, the children are not really going to be given broccoli or chocolate if they say yes, nor will they be tickled]
· Go back through the book. What does Cow say to Monkey when he starts tickling her?... Does he stop straightaway? [No] Should he have stopped straightaway? [Yes] Why? [Knowledge and Understanding]
· What did Monkey call Cow when she didn’t want to be tickled? [a spoilsport] Is Cow a spoilsport for saying she doesn’t want Monkey to tickle her? [no]
o Discuss why you’re not being a spoilsport for not wanting someone to do something to you/your body [Values and Attitudes]
· Ask about being brave and what brave means. Is Cow brave for standing up for herself and saying no? [Yes] Talk about standing up for yourself as being a strong thing to do and important. Talk about standing up for other people as being a strong and important thing to do [Values and Attitudes]
· Talk about Frog. Why didn’t Frog ever tell Monkey that he didn’t like being tickled before now? [Because Monkey is much bigger than Frog and he thought Monkey might be cross] How do you think Frog felt? [He might have felt scared, or sad, or uncomfortable]. Is Frog brave for telling Monkey? [yes]
To finish, have Monkey thank the class for all their help. Have him ask the class one more time to remind him: what do I need to do if I want to tickle or hug someone? [children should say Ask first!] If they don't say it very loudly, ask them to repeat it]