February is Black History Month. February is a month dedicated to celebrating Black History in America, the United Kingdom, and Canada. There has been increasing discussion about dimming the light on African American History, celebration, or education. According to child psychologists, educators should remember that most children demonstrate a sense of self-esteem by age five. And as a teacher, caregiver, or parent, you are aware of how critical it is to assist children in creating a positive self-image. In our role as educators, we know that achieving self-esteem for Black and brown children often requires more effort and even a village effort. Therefore, preschoolers and kindergarteners should be included in Black History Month celebrations.
The current movements across the United States to remove African American studies in public schools and higher education institutions will significantly interfere with building positive self-esteem for Black and brown students, especially during their early years when most children demonstrate a sense of self-esteem. Educators in the United States will be challenged and have to make critical, creative decisions about how to teach about the early contributions to science, technology, medicine, and numerous areas of our lives by an African American. We want all children to grow up and contribute positively to society. Exposure to images of those who have positively impacted History is an essential first step to teaching tolerance and appreciation of everyone in our community.
As a result, observing Black History Month and creating related activities does not have to be complicated or time-consuming. The key is to keep it fun and informative. In addition, Black History Month provides preschoolers a beautiful opportunity to learn all relevant lessons throughout the year. This can be accomplished by simply connecting many concepts under one theme.
It would be appropriate to introduce a math lesson for February by introducing Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Johnson Vaughan, Benjamin Banneker, or African American mathematicians. In addition, if your class takes a nature walk and discovers insects, you might mention that Charles H. Turner has claimed that insects can hear. There are many other ways to incorporate Black History into the classroom are listed below.
Some ways you can celebrate black History all year around include:
Recreate famous works of art by AA artists. Consider an age-appropriate piece of art, discuss the artist, and have the children recreate it.
Make your classroom door memorable by decorating it with a portrait of a famous African American Scientist.
You may wish to consider reading books about significant African American historical figures, for example, Brave Little Ruby by Shannen Yauger, If A Bus Could Talk by Faith Ringgold, Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed, Flying High: the Story of Gymnastic Champion Simon Biles by Michelle Meadows, or Before She Was Harriet by Lisa Cline-Ransome.
A great way to get preschoolers moving is to play music by famous artists. Have a dance party!
Black History should be taught outside of the confines of February simply by listening and acknowledging the lived experiences of Black individuals. Black History Month is a valuable time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of African Americans throughout History. However, it is crucial to incorporate these celebrations into the education of young children in a fun and informative way to develop a positive self-image and foster an appreciation for diversity.
Many simple and engaging activities can be done in the classroom, such as reading books, making art, and dancing to music by famous African American artists. By teaching the contributions of Black History year-round, children can grow up with a better understanding and appreciation of the experiences of African Americans and make a positive contribution to society.