Happy Black History Month! Each February we celebrate Black History Month to learn about the culture, heritage, and history of the Black community. Using books, music, art, and conversations, we can encourage even the youngest of learners to celebrate Black history. During this month at Heights, we're incorporating stories, art, and more to focus on a celebration of Black culture.
Of course, learning about Black history shouldn't be limited to just one month out of the year. But during Black History Month, it's a reminder for people of all cultures to specifically seek out and deepen their understanding of Black history. While it's easy to share about the successes and accomplishments of Black historical figures, it's also important to teach children from all backgrounds about the harder topics related to Black history too.
Help Preschoolers Celebrate Black History Month
One of the easiest ways to teach kids about Black history is through stories and reading! Having a diverse array of books to choose from helps expose kids to different cultures from an early age and teaches them to appreciate the differences between people, instead of thinking that differences are bad or strange. This makes children more empathetic and compassionate, and starts to build their sense of social justice.
There are countless books about Black history written by Black authors for readers of all ages. Some of our recommendations include:
Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race by Megan Madison
Little Black Lives Matter by Khodi Dill
Teach Them Young ABC's African American Edition by Shamariah Starr
You can also start talking about race and culture at all ages of your child's development. Part of Black History Month's importance is acknowledging what Black people have experienced throughout history, which includes hard topics like racism and slavery. Have a conversation about race and prejudice with your preschooler – explain why it’s important to learn more about the histories of different cultures, and how we can all work together to make things better for everyone.
You can look to your preschooler's favorite tv shows to help celebrate and learn during Black History Month too. Sesame Street and CNN partnered to develop Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism in 2020 during the Black Lives Matter protests, as a way to help connect with children and help families explain and understand racism in kid-friendly terms. And PBS Kids had a special about race and racism featuring content from popular shows Daniel Tiger's neighborhood, Arthur, and Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum.
Preschoolers are developing a strong sense of fairness, right, and wrong - which means they'll catch on to simple explanations of treating people unfairly based on the color of their skin. Remember to keep things simple and age-appropriate and answer your child's questions honestly.
Black History Month doesn't have to just be about history, either. Embrace your child's current favorites and enjoy shows, movies, stories, music, and more that feature Black characters and artists who are making history today!