A few days ago

Preschoolers taught to show middle finger?

To whom it may concern;

I am concerned about a song sheet that was sent home with my four-year-old son this afternoon (9/24/07) from Watkins Early Childhood Development (a federal funded program) . It is called “Poems, Fingerplays, and Songs”. The themes are family, friends, and feelings. The activity in question reads as follows:

See my family? See them all?

(hold up all five fingers)

Some are short (hold up thumb)

Some are tall (hold up middle finger)

Let’s shake hands. “How do you do?”

(grasp hands and shake)

See them bow? “How are you?”

(bend fingers)

Father, (hold up middle finger)

Mother, (hold up pointer finger)

Sister, (hold up ring finger)

Brother, (hold up thumb)

And Me, (hold up pinkie finger)

It appears that in the first and third verses, preschool- age children are taught to hold up an almost universal sign of disrespect. This was sent home with preschoolers in this program nationwide. Tomorrow (9/25/07) our nations children will be taught to hold up their middle fingers while saying “father”– in a school system where God cannot be mentioned. How has this happened?

The teachers are apparently unaware of what thay have sent (My cousin is a teacher at Watkins). This shows neglectful behaviour on every level of the school system and possible ill intent. Please adress this issue as you see fit.

Top 10 Answers
A few days ago

Favorite Answer

I can’t believe nobody noticed this…and it’s obviously intentional.

It’s not the natural response when holding up one finger to hold up the middle finger first. It’s more comfortable to put up the index finger first, then the middle. The middle finger is least dominant next to the ring finger (especially in kids who don’t usually have any experience in flashing it in traffic).

Babies may raise their middle finger and use it more dominantly, but by a time a child reaches school, they’ve already started learning index and thumb dominance.

There’s no reason to use the middle finger first in this poem, and there’s no way it’s not intentional. Try putting up your middle finger, then the index, then the ring finger. Hard, isn’t it? So why would someone have children with limited finger dexterity trying to?


A few days ago
I have worked with children including preschoolers since I was 11 years old (I am 26 years old now), and I am also a Christian. This new song is not much different than the good old time favorite Where Is Thumbkin, where children also showed the middle finger, but it was referred to as Sir instead of Father. Some songs refer to the middle finger as Father, some as dad, some as Sir, and never refer to the middle finger as a female. Why? Because most of the time men are the tallest. Instead of holding the finger straight up, teach your child to do the new song Where Is Thumbkin style where you hold up the finger and bend it up and down from the knuckle. Some teachers are even teaching the new song with that instead of the straight up finger. Bottom line, preschools are for 2, 3, 4, and early 5 year olds, and I’ve found it’s usually the parents, not the children that have a problem with what’s being taught. Kids don’t understand half the things that their parents get paranoid about. I can guarantee in a school system where God is not mentioned, that father refers to the father in a family and not God the Father, which is very clear by the rhyme. If you are that concerned about it, you could always have your child skip that part of the song, but he/she will probably ask why you want him/her to skip it.

A few days ago
I feel this is ridiculous. As other posters have pointed out, the old song where is thumbkin has been used for generations and no ill has come of it. This is similar..the father is usually considered the head of the household so he is mentioned first and the tallest finger stands for the tallest member of the family (in generalities).

No harm at all will come to the kids..it is just one little things of many they learn and if the parents do not freak out, niether will the kids.

Doing a little poem fingerplay has nothing to so with God not being in the schools that is an entirely different issue and they should not be linked as this adds to the writer’s upset. Just let this small thing roll off one’s back and save the complaints for bigger matters.

I was offended by some of the things taught in the sex ed class book that was sent home and just had my son exempted from two of the classes and taught him myself and when I was previewing his books and saw evolution being taught as a fact, I made sure to talk to my son about creationism from a scientific perspective so that he could if he wanted bring this up to open up conversion with the other students and teachers. He did and several others backed him up as well.


A few days ago
Daizee Grrl
I have a 3 year old and a 5 year old, and I personally think people are taking this a bit too far. I mean, it’s only a “bad” finger if they know they are being rude and are using it for that purpose. It was obvious to me why this song had the children raise the middle finger first – it symbolized the father who was the tallest family member – and the middle finger is the tallest. I don’t think it was intentional to make children hold up that “disrespectful” finger. If the worst thing my kids do is hold up their middle fingers when they don’t know that it’s bad, then I’m gonna be ok.

A few days ago
sheri b
I can’t believe what a negative u have turned this into…….. The child will have absolutely no understanding of the concept and yet here u are putting a horrible spin on it…… This song and finger actions is very well used and loved in probably most preschools around the world. Let the children be children….. they will learn soon enough the meaning behind the term, hopefully alot further down the track with their schooling….. for now they are just having fun, singing songs and gaining finger co-ordination…..

leave their innnocence


A few days ago
i work with preschool aged children and they ‘unintentionally’ flip people off all the time. in fact, i’ve seen a number of kids that can’t quite figure out pointing and prefer to point with the middle finger.

the fact is, to them they’re just fingers. it’s not until we make a big deal about it that it becomes an issue. why shun two whole fingers before our kids even reach age 4?

it obviously wasn’t the best thought out song, but i don’t feel completely outraged.


A few days ago
You are rediculous, come on. The middle finger IS the tallest finger, and if you don’t make a big deal about it, most pre-schoolers don’t even know what it meansAre you also one of those parents who don’t let their kids’ watch Telletubbies because tinkie winkie carries a purse and must be gay?

Totally a waste of time for you to get all freaked out over a silly song. Sheesh.


A few days ago
You know, I can see where they’re coming from on that, and I know how they would probably defend it. That is, that children at that age haven’t yet learned that the middle finger is a show of disrespect and when they do it in innocence, there shouldn’t be any problem with that.

But I know as well as you do that that’s naive. And even pig-headed, since they can’t believably claim they didn’t notice. And obviously they made the decision to publish it anyway.

I don’t suppose I would be angry about it, but I am definitely puzzled. The only thing that does irritate me about it is that a teacher at that school would be unaware of what she herself sent home.


5 years ago
preschoolers taught show middle finger

A few days ago
This is ridiculous. You never sang, “Where is Thumbkin” (to the tune of Frere Jacques) as a child?

Where is thumbkin, where is thumbkin, here I am, here I am. How are you today, sir? Very well I thank you. Run away, run away.

Then pointer, tall man, ring man, and pinkie. And you hold up each finger in turn. When it’s tall man’s turn, you hold up your “tallest” finger.

I thought this was a pretty universal song. Not only did I sing it as a child (30 yrs ago!) but I sing it with my three to five-year-olds, and they always know it before I sing it. It’s not like I have to teach it to them!

And what does not being able to mention God in public schools have to do with a child’s song in which you hold up your tallest finger to represent the (usually) tallest member of your family???