February is Black History Month — a celebration of African American contributions, history and outstanding achievements that’s a month-long event recognized across the United States. And for our teaching staff, it’s a great opportunity to celebrate diversity, honor our differences and recognize how our students can grow from our past.
But this conversation shouldn’t stop in the classroom. Here are some great resources and ideas for talking about Black History Month with your child at home:
Do a quote or fact of the day
Start each day with a famous quote or tidbit about a Black leader. These can range from Maya Angelou’s inspiring poems to facts about how Lonnie Johnson created the Super Soaker while he worked at NASA. For an added challenge, tell your student the quote in the morning, and then ask what of the quote they remember when they return from school.
Go beyond MLK
Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Maya Angelou — these names are synonymous with Black History Month, but we encourage you to talk about other Black leaders. For example, if your child likes NASA, talk about Nichelle Nichols, Katherine Johnson, or Mae Jemison. You can also talk about the modern impact of popular Black figures like Simone Biles and the Olympics, Barack Obama and the presidency, or Sidney Poitier and movie history.
Get musical with it
One of the biggest contributions of Black culture to the US is jazz music. Put on some iconic jazz music from Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Miles Davis. You can also put on a blues record and introduce your child to BB King and other blues artists. Ask your child how the music makes them feel and what they like about the music.
Read Black writers
With roughly 80 percent of the children’s book world being white, it can be hard to find diversity in books to read to your kids. However, there are plenty of Black authors writing books about all sorts of interesting stories for young readers. Hair Love by Mathew A Cherry, for example, became incredibly popular over the last year thanks to a short film of the same name. If your child is older, try Christopher Paul Curtis’s books like The Watsons Go to Birmingham. Check out this list of other books to add to your family reading list.
At Lake Forrest Prep, a leading private school in Orlando, we understand how important it is for students to embrace diversity and celebrate the unique histories of other backgrounds. We’re committed to educating your students in the classroom and at home. For more resources and fun ideas for at-home learning with your child, check out our blog.