February welcomes winter blizzards that are counterbalanced with indoor decor of pink and red hearts for celebrating Valentine’s Day. However, February is also national Black History Month. Black History Month is meant to be a month-long reflection of the history of African America and those who have helped paved the way for the betterment of all mankind.
Follow along in today’s post as we discuss some of the reasons that celebrating Black History Month is important for children of all races and ages and how you can do so in an age-appropriate way. At Just For Kids child care center in Chicago, we offer engaging learning opportunities that celebrate a variety of topics and incorporate important academic and life concepts. Contact us for more information about our learning programs.
Remember Not to Forget
One of the reasons that history of all types, eras, and locations is part of school curriculum is to teach children about eras past, where they came from, and how to improve for the future. The past is full of all sorts of facts and events that shape the culture of today. These things can seem like foreign concepts to people who were not around at the time. But, as the old adage goes, those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.
When teaching children about black history in America, there are a lot of ugly things that are difficult to explain, and may not be age-appropriate. However, highlighting some of the events and people who shaped the current world is always important. Teaching children about racism and segregation at a young age can help play a vital role in identifying bias in their own lives and help grow a generation of children who are more tolerant and inclusive of people who are different.
Celebrate the Characters
Each week in February, select a few people who made a difference in the story of black history. You can pick a theme of the week — revolutionaries, inventors, artists, politicians, etc. For younger children, you can tell the story of each person and incorporate activities about them throughout the day. For the school-age kids, you can encourage them to do their own research and create some sort of project that is reflective of why the person is notable.
While the focus of black history month should be the past and American history, celebrating current role models can be just as valuable. There are a variety of powerful, positive, influential black leaders that prove that nothing is out of reach as long as you dream big and work hard. Celebrate the strong black people that are a personal part of your child’s life too — maybe that person is you!
One of the biggest takeaways of studying black history in America is the challenge of overcoming adversity. Children already have been, and will continue to be, exposed to a variety of challenges in life. Even though Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. hoped for a nation where his children would be judged solely on the content of their character, as a nation, we have yet to achieve his dream. The will be exposed to judgment based on skin color, economic status, and the neighborhood they live in. Helping children realize their worth and how they have the power to control the way they react to situations is a life lesson that has the potential to change the course of their lives.
Continue to remind children that one person has the power and influence to change the entire course of the future — will their impact be positive or negative? Show children that as an entire culture and population, different tactics were used to overcome adversity; some worked and others didn’t. Challenge the children to reflect on their own problem solving and conflict resolution skills and compare them to important figures of the past.
Create Positive Change
Our children are the future. They hold the key to changing the world. Each February is an opportunity to highlight one single aspect of American culture — black history — take it. The mind of a child is like a sponge, soaking up everything. Expose them to the truth while offering them a hopeful solution. In Chicago, there are a variety of opportunities to take children to explore African American history in an interactive way that may help leave a bigger impression. Here are a just a few locations offer black history education all year round.
- The DuSable Museum
- Bronzeville Visitor Information Center
- Gallery Guichard — may not be appropriate for young children
- Little Black Pearl Art & Design Center — kid-friendly activities and events!
- The Black Ensemble Theater
Every February, there are a variety of community events at the local parks and libraries. Get your children out and exposed!
At Just For Kids, we incorporate different activities and learning opportunities into our daily schedule. If you are looking for a daycare in Chicago that seeks to help enrich the lives of children, contact us for your tour today!