My oldest son is home from school today so whoop whoop IT’S PAJAMA DAY! But more importantly, WHY is he home from school?
Today we celebrate the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is so easy for us to get caught up in teaching letters, numbers, patterns, and rhyming to our little ones… but we also need to remember to teach about history… especially a historical period that is pivotal in this country’s shift toward acceptance, freedom, and equality of all people.
That’s a pretty huge concept and a lot of information for our kids to grasp. And they won’t grasp it all in one day! But guess what? Teaching about Martin Luther King Jr., black history, racial equality, segregation, and the infamous “I Have a Dream” speech does not have to only happen on the third Monday in January of each year.
I found this great video on YouTube that gives an age-appropriate biography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I clicked pause a lot so I could explain a few things such as “segregation” and “freedom.”
My oldest son made a reference to the pictures we once showed him of my husband and my trip to Washington D.C. after he saw the Washington Monument in the video. I had forgotten all about them! So we pulled them out and I was able to show him a picture I took standing from the spot where MLK Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Dr. King’s movement encouraged us to imagine a world where people were not set apart by their differences. To kids, the biggest differences between people are all visual: gender, hair color and length, height, kid versus adult and skin color; whereas, we adults also differentiate between cultures, language, religions and beliefs, lifestyles and socioeconomic statuses.
Today, we spent some time talking about our visual differences, specifically our different skin colors. But, let’s not just talk about the different colors, let’s SEE the all of the different colors. So of course, we busted out the paints! I pulled out all of our different hues of brown paints from light khaki tan to milk chocolate to dark chocolate to raw umber.
All of them are products of mixing two colors: white and our darkest brown.
We mixed together different combinations of the two colors: 1 scoop of white and 3 scoops of brown; 2 scoops of white and 2 scoops of brown; 3 scoops of white and one scoop of brown; and we mixed and mixed and mixed…
And then we painted the different colors on our hands to see which best matched our skin color.
We talked about how everyone’s skin color has a different combination of these two colors. “It’s kind of like God has his own color palate and is mixing these different paints together to make us all uniquely beautiful!”
Let’s celebrate our differences today and every day and teach our kids to do the same!
*** TEACHING TIP: Make an effort to include historical and culturally-relevant books in your home library.
These are just a few of the books that I read in my classroom to my students, provided by a curriculum that encouraged culturally relevant teaching:
Here is a great resource to learn about different cultures all around the world: Kid World Citizen! The best way for kids to learn to accept differences is to learn to appreciate and celebrate differences. On this website you can search by continent, country, food, animals, language, crafts and more! I am seriously in AWE over Kid World Citizen… what an amazing resource!