February is Black History Month in the United States and Canada. Did you know that October is Black History month in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands?
The theme for Black History Month 2022 is Black Health and Wellness. This recognizes the accomplishments and legacy of Black experts in the field of medicine, and also the expertise developed and practiced in the African Diaspora such as midwives, doulas and more. Black people have used initiative and support to build hospitals, schools and clinics, and we celebrate them this February.
Consider Doc McStuffins, a little Black girl who fixes her toys and animals. She’s important because she models to both African American kids and non-Black kids that this smart girl is helpful, kind and has supportive, working parents – in fact, Doc McStuffins wants to be a doctor like her mother. She’s a wonderful representative for kids of all backgrounds for this year’s Black History Month 2022 theme… and to be a role model, modelling compassion and care, for kids anytime.
During Black History Month, schools, libraries and communities highlight amazing things that Black people have accomplished. This month is also a dedicated time to teach and revisit history, and learn more about past and current issues.
A single month is not long enough to cover everything that needs to be learned. Our children of all backgrounds and colors should know the history that has been frequently highlighted in just this one month.
There are so many excellent resources and people who can help us understand elements of Black History. Here are some suggested resources:
- Kids, Race and Unity: A Nick News Special. Watch this hour-long special with your kids. It’s hosted by Alicia Keys exploring how to talk to our kids about racism and what Black Lives Matter means from a kids’ perspective. Plus, there are places for kids to go for answers to their questions.
- Check out Common Sense Media’s Celebrate Black Voices resources. This nonprofit helps parents make decisions about media that is kid-appropriate. They’ve compiled this excellent list of TV shows, movies and other content. It’s broken down by age and by cultural category: classics, history, arts, business, dance, games, social justice, STEM and more. They also highlight books and other learning resources.
- Beyond slavery and civil rights: What parents need to know about Black History Month Award-winning journalist Kimberly Seals Allers consulted with Black parents and experts to compile these ideas and suggestions
- Teaching Black History for kids – from the University of Illinois A compilation of resources for parents and teachers
- Teaching Kids about Black History – from PBS - An article by Nefertiti Austin which includes tips from children’s book author Cheryl Willis Hudson about how to connect your kids with Black history
- National Geographic Kids has this informative page about how Black History month came to be and what it honors.
- Teaching Tolerance has put together an age-appropriate guide for grades Kindergarten through five to introduce ideas that are difficult for kids. This page covers how to introduce the key concepts necessary to understand the historical significance of slavery and shares resources for how to teach them. Find the Teaching Tolerance page here.
Here are some ideas for activities to teach your kids about Black history this month:
Virtually visit a Black history museum: During the COVID-19 pandemic, going to museums is not advisable, however many museums have started offering virtual tours. Here is a list Black History museums you can explore from home -- including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Discover Marley Dias’s compilation: As a little girl, Marley realized that she was not seeing people like her often so as a 6th grader, she started a mission to compile all the books with Black girls as main characters.
Listen to Blues and Jazz: These are just two genres of music that are uniquely American and created by Black Americans. See how many different instruments your kids can identify. Talk about famous musicians and their influence on American culture even today.
Explore Black poetry and literature: On inauguration day, the first National Youth Poet Laureate recited her poem, The Hill We Climb. Amanda Gorman has added to the rich canon of African-American writing. Teach kids about how poetry and storytelling has inspired people to change and make the world better. If they don’t already know them, introduce your kids about the works of, and impact of other powerful Black artists such as Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker.
Create a Hope Box: The book Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope by Nikki Grimes is a great children’s book describing the life of the 44th president of the United States and how he made history and created hope for so many around our country. Teach kids about hope in today’s Black history and help them to create a box that they can put hopeful statements and affirmations throughout the year.
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This' week's FREE printables: An educational African-American Heroes themed word search!
Let your family’s exploration of this history spark a desire within. Our kids are the future and the more they know about our history, the better they can make this world for their generation and their children.
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