There is a range of sexualized behavior in preschool children from age-typical and developmentally appropriate behavior, to behavior that is of concern or “flag” behavior, and dangerous behaviors that affect other children.
- In general, sexualized behavior should be considered dangerous when
- Despite teacher prompts to stop the behavior, it is occurring repeatedly without any “warning” signs or predictable triggers.
- The behavior is affecting other children, usually because they are being directly touched or violated in some way.
- Following up on Dangerous Sexualized Behavior
- DST should immediately inform the Regional Manager and parents of dangerous sexualized behaviors.
- A safety plan should be formulated, if there is not one already in place. Considerations will include the classroom environment, outside environment, possible aides, and a staffing matrix.
- Program consultants and/or Mental Health Providers should be informed.
- A staffing including DST, RM, mental health and education consultants or specialists, and parents, should take place addressing safety issues/protecting other children.
- If the staffing team does not feel an aide would help ensure classroom safety, or if it is not possible to provide an aide, the RM should inform the Assistant Director (or Director) and discuss exclusion.
Understanding and Responding To the Sexual Behavior of Children
The Range of Sexual Behavior of Children Under Age 12
Although mutual or group masturbation is not uncommon among children, the interaction must be evaluated. We need to be concerned about behavior with dolls which may be rehearsals for behavior with peers. Although restraining an individual in order to pull down pants or expose breasts may occur in the context of hazing among peers, it is clearly abusive.
Information provided by Missouri Division of Family Services.
Policy Council approved September 13, 2011
© 2011. Head Start of Lane County. All rights reserved