Date of Award


Document Type

Non Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education




Early Childhood Education

Capstone Instructor

Barbara Schoenbeck

Second Reader

Lynn Gehrke


appropriate touch, nurturing touch, touch and attachment, positive touch, early childhood education


Professionals and laypersons alike agree that children need positive touch in their lives, especially in their early childhood settings. Such touch is essential to form attachment between infant and caregiver as well as to sustain healthy attachment throughout early childhood. Positive touch is also a needed component in communicating a child's sense of worth to him or her and for building trusting relationships. In addition to this essential emotional role, touch plays an equally essential role in a child's physical development. Recent brain research names touch as one component imperative to the development of a healthy, growing brain. Touch has also been shown to decrease incidences of childhood illnesses, and has been key in the dynamic growth of premature infants. Touch is crucial, but sadly lacking in children's lives. This lack can be attributed mainly to a pervasive fear among both practitioners and parents that touch can lead to or be misconstrued as sexual abuse. Because of this fear, people working with children in their early education settings are withholding touch as a means of protecting themselves and the children in their care. This capstone addresses the essential role touch plays in the lives of children as well as the fear of abuse allegations and how touch can be used to help protect children and their caregivers from abuse and abuse allegations.


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