To get my kindergartners warmed up for gym class, I would arrange students in a circle and lead them through various stretches. Once, when I demonstrated how to do a bicycling move, my shirt slid up slightly revealing a tattoo on my lower back. I sat up to see 27 kindergartners all staring at me with wide eyes. One of the more outgoing students said, “Miss B! You have a tattoo!” I briefly explained that I did and that it was a picture of theater masks because I did a lot of community theater. And that was that.
I was reminded of this experience recently when I read an article about tattoos and piercings in an early childhood setting. Even before I began reading, I got all geared up to be offended. I assumed the author would bash these forms of expression, labeling them as inappropriate and damaging to young minds. But I was pleasantly surprised to see the following theme: Students need to see people at school who reflect the people they see at home. So is it necessary to remove piercings, cover tattoos, and rethink that turquoise streak of hair? Personally, I don’t think so.
I’m curious about the rules and dress code at the school where you teach. Is it restrictive? How do they feel about tattoos and piercings?