Welcome to WholeSomeBodies!

By: Amy Torchia, Children’s Advocacy Coordinator, Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

WholeSomeBodies is a curriculum for adults who have children and youth in their lives—such as parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors. There are several trainers in Vermont who have the skills to bring this opportunity to you, your school, your parent community, etc.

Through the course, participants are able to…
• increase their knowledge of healthy sexuality and
• increase their skills and motivation to model and teach healthy sexuality to the youth and children in their lives.

Anyone can be a participant or leader of our workshops. All you need is curiosity about how we form and communicate our sense of sexuality, both individually and as a culture, and a desire to support a cultural shift toward healthy sexuality. If you are interested in finding out about more about WholeSomeBodies, please contact the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

For a little taste of what’s in store, here is one of many ‘Making the Connection’ handouts for participants.  This one is about fun and tangible ways to help the children and youth (and yourself) remain connected to their senses.

Making the Connection: Sensual Feast
Children and youth are sensual beings, we all are! We learn about the world through our senses —seeing, hearing, tasting touching, and smelling. When we are young children, this is how we learn and connect to the world. This is also how we derive pleasure, from our caregiver’s touch, from our first foods and soft toys. Somehow, as we grow up, we move away from our sensual world and into one driven by schedules and responsibilities, school and work, raising kids and relationships;
we may neglect our bodily connection to the world as our brains take over. Wouldn’t it be nice if kids could be supported to remain sensually connected throughout their lives in all areas of their lives? A healthy culture would be one where sensuality wasn’t relegated to the act of sex by the time we became adults — but was one in which children, youth and adults were able to enjoy sensuality throughout their lives in all parts of their lives.

Below are some fun and tangible ways to help the children and youth in your life remain connected to their senses. Remember, you would be a great role model if you made sure to get dirty too. Here’s to jumping into a pile of leaves . . . no matter your age!

With Little Kids
• Play.
• Get dirty, play in water, mud, paint, food, etc. Talk about what things feel like.
• Sing, make and listen to music. Notice sounds and talk about how sounds make you feel.
• Be outside a lot.
• Jump in leaves.
• Jump on the bed.
• Notice colors, be curious about how looking at colors might make you feel different ways in your body.
• Have “taste tests” where you try new foods and talk about how they taste.
• If children are acting hyper or distracted, help ground and calm them by asking them to look for certain colors or describe what they can smell. Connect them to their body and senses.
• Limit activities that don’t fully engage senses (like TV, computers, and video games).

With Older Kids
• Play.
• Get dirty, be artistic, build and create.
• Sing, play instruments, listen to and go hear live music.
• Be outside a lot.
• Encourage kids to include all their senses when writing and telling stories.
• Introduce kids to lots of different kinds of delicious foods.
• Limit activities that don’t fully engage senses (like TV, computers, and video games).
• Talk about beauty, look at art and photography.

For Adults
• Play with kids or other adults, get dirty.
• Go outside often.
• Turn off technology when you can and leave it at home sometimes.
• Move your body, notice what different stretches or movements feel like.
• Sing, dance, play and listen to music.
• Notice and talk about beauty. Look at art, photography, sculptures, nature.
• Savor your favorite foods, pull out the different flavors, explore what it tastes like when it touched different taste buds.
• Pause and take a deep breath or three.
• Make time for little treats like bubble baths or yoga classes.
• Take a different way home than usual.
• Hang out with children and youth and learn from them how to stay better connected to your senses.

WholeSomeBodies is a project of the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence