Teaching consent to children
Consent is integral to human relationships throughout our whole lives. It is complex, but when you break it down it is surprisingly simple.
We can think of consent as permission for shared experiences.
Valuing consent means we respect others, so our relationships and human connections are positive, respectful, and healthy.
Acting with respect and ensuring there is consent prevents us from causing harm to other people.
It can be as simple as: YES!
An enthusiastic, ongoing, mutually negotiated and affirmative YES!
The basic principles of consent must always apply to all of our connections, including those we maintain with family, friends, work, and play.
However, people are complex. In different situations, we can experience a range of different feelings, thoughts and emotions. To know that someone wants to share an experience with us equally, and that they are giving affirmative permission, we need to make important choices and decisions to ensure we always have and give consent.
Follow Kit, Arlo and their friends as they discover the true meaning of consent.
Webinar: Teaching consent to children
Click play to access this webinar about teaching consent, with an introduction by ACER Press publisher Elisa Webb and commentary by Kit and Arlo find a way authors Vanessa Hamilton and Ingrid Laguna. Click the first item to watch the full video and the second for an audio version.
About Kit and Arlo find a way
Kit goes to school with her friends Harley and Vanya, and always tries her best at everything she does. Arlo is too loud, too close, just too... much. But when a moving van pulls up next to Kit’s house one weekend, Kit and Arlo find out they have a lot more in common than they thought. Join Kit, Arlo and their friends as they navigate school, home life and friendships, and learn more than a few things about how to get along.
Kit and Arlo find a way: teaching consent to 8–12 year olds is a much needed consent teaching resource for Grades 3 to 6. An action-packed and relatable fictional chapter book, Kit and Arlo is a page-turning journey of upper primary school kids – Kit, Arlo, Harley and Vanya – developing and exploring friendships with plenty of ups and downs. Entertaining and compelling as a standalone narrative, Kit and Arlo’s secret weapon is that it contains all of the complex components of consent and includes respectful relationships education in an age-appropriate format.
Teachers can read the story, chapter by chapter, in class, and then use the discussion points and ‘read and respond’ notes to facilitate conversations around consent in child-friendly ways with their students. For schools needing a more in-depth consent and respectful relationships curriculum, a dedicated Kit and Arlo teaching resources platform houses evidence-based teaching activities, videos, webinars, podcasts, resource links and lesson plans designed to tie in with the story.
Key topics include:
- body boundaries and safety
- verbal and non-verbal cues
- developing a sense of self, personal strength and self-determination
- understanding that the responsibly of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ should be shared
- understanding that shared activities should have enthusiastic, affirmative and ongoing consent
- having the courage to withdraw consent
- understanding gendered stereotypes, coercion and power imbalances
- learning to have empathy for others
- managing disappointment when someone changes their mind
- how to be an upstander when someone is being harmed
- the keys to respectful relationships and better friendships.
Kit and Arlo find a way is a vital resource for schools doing the essential work of empowering kids with decision-making skills that will carry through to their interactions and relationships later on in life.
How to use the book and lessons
Parents and teachers:
- We recommend that adults learn about the principles of consent via this learning platform, before initiating the guided learning at the back of the book. The resources here aim to enhance rich and essential conversations with children about consent and respectful relationships.
- Parents and teachers are encouraged to adapt and amend the guided learning content to suit the age range and learning level of the child.
- This book has an overall story arc; the intention is for teachers to regularly read as a class, one chapter at a time and, as each chapter is completed, to use the corresponding guided learning material at the back of the book.
Teachers might like to read the text and finish the relevant guided learning sections at a rate of 1 or 2 chapters per week
In addition, 13 optional consent lessons are available for use in the classroom. Teachers are encouraged to choose the lessons most relevant to their students' year level and extended learning needs related to any of the 13 topics in the book. Please note that not all the lessons are suitable for Years 3 - 4, see teacher notes of each lesson. A dot point "For Years 5-6 only" will be listed.
Click play to watch any of these 9 support videos. These resources address some of the many complexities involved in teaching students about human sexuality, respectful relationships and consent.
Support materials for teachers and parents
Chapter 1: Body boundaries and safety
Chapter 2: Sense of self, personal strength, and self-determination
Chapter 3: Responsibility of yes or no should be shared
Chapter 4: Courage to withdraw consent
Chapter 5: Verbal and non-verbal cues
Chapter 6: Empathy
Chapter 7: Enthusiastic and ongoing consent
Chapter 8: ‘Swap’ instead of ‘stop’
Chapter 9: Managing disappointment
Chapter 10: Listen to your own truth
Chapter 11: Consent and ethics (being an upstander)
Chapter 12: Consent has laws
Chapter 13: Respectful relationships and better friendships
Respectful relationships education resources
Curriculum and education resources
National consent laws
Preventing, reporting child abuse and neglect:
Kit and Arlo find a way
Kit goes to school with her friends Harley and Vanya, and always tries her best at everything she does. Arlo is too loud, too close, just too... much. But when a moving van pulls up next to Kit’s house one weekend, Kit and Arlo find out they have a lot more in common than they thought.
Join Kit, Arlo and their friends as they navigate school, home life and friendships, and learn more than a few things about how to get along.BUY THE BOOK
Take a look inside
Meet the creators
Ingrid Laguna (she/her), Author
Ingrid Laguna is an award-winning novelist and educator. She has published a memoir and numerous books for children. Her work has been published internationally, featured by Reading Australia and given Notable recognition by the Children's Book Council of Australia. Ingrid’s writing has featured in many publications, including The Monthly, The Age, Teacher Magazine and The AEU Magazine. She regularly presents to teachers and students at schools, libraries, festivals and conferences.More about Ingrid
Vanessa Hamilton (she/her), Author & Educator
Vanessa Hamilton is a sexuality educator, author of a parent guide book and founder of education business ‘Talking The Talk Sex and Health Education’, with over 25 years’ experience as a registered sexual health nurse. She is a parent of 3 teens and is a highly respected speaker, podcaster, blog writer and educator on the topics of human sexuality, consent and respectful relationships. Vanessa has immersed herself in helping parents, teachers and health professionals understand human sexuality and, specifically, how it relates to children.More about Vanessa