Contributed by Preschool Teacher Debbie Markland
The students in the PreK4 and PreK5 classes in Preschool enjoyed learning about Martin Luther King Jr. throughout the month of January. The conversation started at the beginning of the month with an “I see, I think, I wonder” exercise while studying an image of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous I Have a Dream Speech in Washington, DC.
After this visual thinking exercise, we read the children’s picture book I Have a Dream by Dr. King and Kadie Nelson. We wanted children to know that Dr. King wanted all people, regardless of the color of their skin or what religion they followed or how much money they had, to be treated fairly and for everyone to choose kindness. We discussed why he had a dream for freedom and equality and discussed the true experiences that black people experienced which lead him to this dream. Following this discussion, the PreK5 class made a dream quilt to share what their dreams are.
In our next lesson, we read Coretta Scott by Ntozake Shang. We focused on “speaking out against what is wrong” in situations. We discussed when there is something happening that is unfair or wrong, we should speak up – we should be an upstander like Dr. King In the PreK5 class, after drawing him, they thought about how they might stand up for others.
PreK5 also discussed the idea of peace. They learned about the peace symbol and recreated their own. Friends in this class had also been exploring the idea of mixing colors, and after each creating their own color, they used all their individual paint colors to create a peace dove – all colors coming together to form peace.
Additionally, students in PreK5 also talked about brown eggs and white eggs to simulate skin color differences – the eggs were different on the outside, but on the inside, the eggs were the same.
Reflections by students in the classroom, in Performing Arts discussions, and at home showed that they learned a lot about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Following our lessons and conversations, they continued to think about being an upstander, supporting others, being kind and expressing thoughts peacefully.
My favorite quote was from a PreK4 friend who while walking to the car with his mom and observing stickers on bumpers of cars said, “Mom, we cheer for Martin Luther King, right? We should get a Martin Luther King sticker!”