Making children space-aware

A session coming to Ashcroft in December shows children how to recognize and respect personal space.

Young children—particularly those with special needs—can sometimes find it difficult to understand the need to respect the personal space of others. “They don’t understand that they shouldn’t just rush up to strangers and hug them, or that they shouldn’t stand just a couple of inches away from someone,” says Mandi Sharkey of Sharkey Support Services.

That is the impetus behind “Personal Space Camp”, a three-hour program that Sharkey will be holding at the Ashcroft HUB from 1 to 4 p.m. on December 19. “It’s a place where kids can learn about personal space through literature, games, and hands-on experience.”

Sharkey—who has a masters degree and several years of special education experience, as well as eight years of working directly with families providing education and support—has three spaces left at the Ashcroft camp. While the program is designed for children of all ages, she says that the usual age of those taking it is between five and 12.

“The children learn to respect every person’s personal space; and they learn that personal space is different for different people. Do people have a big bubble or a small bubble? During the hands-on part of the program, the children see what physical space looks like for different people.”

“One of the things we look at is if they’re in school, how much space do they need to leave between them and the next person when they’re in line?” Children are also taught ways to remember how to respect personal space.

The fee for the program is $25, or $37.50 including the book Personal Space Camp by Julia Cook. To register, call 1-250-299-8518, or go to