Mount Madonna Preschool Teaches Bodily Respect and Consent 

Preschool is a formative time in a child’s life. It is an ideal time to foster a deeper connection to one’s own body and to understand and communicate needs. One important area of many that Mount Madonna School’s (MMS) preschool emphasizes is body autonomy and consent.

“Our aim is to empower each child to confidently communicate their needs,” said MMS preschool teacher Danielle Barr. “This aligns with our commitment to guiding each child toward functional independence and an understanding of personal comfort and boundaries and how these comforts can vary for each of us.”

During Circle Time, MMS preschool teachers can often be found leading discussion on boundaries, respect and communication. Recently, Barr showed the children that they can say “no” when someone asks to give them a hug. She also showed them how to ask their friends for a hug, and how to respect their friends when they say “no.” 

Bodily autonomy is taught in the MMS preschool classroom in many ways. 

“Just as we teach our preschool students how to clean their own noses, wash their hands, zip their jackets, put on socks and shoes, pour water, clean up their mess, we empower the child to need adults less,” Barr said. “It is crucial for the child’s sense of empowerment and autonomy that they are not merely passive recipients of care, but active participants in it. For instance, something as simple as wiping a child’s nose should be done with the child’s consent with respect to their bodily autonomy. 

“By teaching children to articulate their needs, we help instill a sense of control and responsibility over their bodies, which is a fundamental aspect of their development, safety and self-esteem.”

For a short video of MMS preschool students learning about bodily respect and consent, visit the MMS Instagram Page.


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communications, 

Nestled among the redwoods on 380 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a diverse learning community dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believes a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The program, accredited by the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.