Post submitted by Kimmie Fink, Welcoming Schools Consultant
If you’re looking for ways to engage your students in conversations about race for Black History Month, Welcoming Schools has you covered.
During February (and all year long), elementary educators across the country can engage the nation’s youngest students in conversations about race using the Welcoming Schools approach. The resource Looking at Skin Color provides picture book suggestions to foster conversations about skin color in a positive, affirming way, as well as links to lesson plans and activities that honor difference. For example, the bilingual book All The Colors We Are/Todos los colores de nuestro piel allows students to mix paint to match their skin tone to create a display of handprints.
Children don’t come into this world colorblind, and we’re not doing them any favors by pretending they do (or that we ourselves don’t see color). Children actually begin categorizing people by race very early on. When a child asks about different skin tones they are being curious, not racist. It’s the job of teachers to give children the language necessary to talk about and appreciate difference. This, in turn, can help them to form positive racial associations for themselves and others.
Education about race should occur throughout the school year, both through planned lessons and teachable moments. Black History Month is the perfect opportunity to get students talking about race in a positive way and to celebrate the “colors of us.”
HRC’s Welcoming Schools is the nation’s premier program dedicated to creating respectful and supportive elementary schools in embracing family diversity, creating LGBTQ-inclusive schools, preventing bias-based bullying, creating gender-expansive schools, and supporting transgender and non-binary students.