A group of preschoolers sit in a circle on a carpeted floor while an educator passes round a soft toy octopus named Hugstapus. With an animated voice (belonging to the educator) Hugstapus asks each child in the circle if they would like a hug. Some of the children nod shyly before taking the toy for a hug, others shake their heads, “No.”
It might sound like a cute game, but there is a much deeper message at play. This is consent education – the children are being taught about their bodily autonomy and how to read each other’s body language.