Learning about Martin Luther King Jr. in preschool

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on January 18, 2011

in Holiday Ideas, MLK

Today was Martin Luther King Day and we took the opportunity to explore concepts such as kindness, peace, speeches, and dreams.

I had the opportunity to go to several of our classes today and share this video with the children. I liked how the video talked about MLK in a very simple way. It shares some of his childhood and touches on some of the hardships and success MLK had in his life. The children loved the short clip and listened intently to MLK’s voice as he spoke to the masses about his dream for unity and peace…

After we viewed the video with the younger classes, the discussion with the children naturally led to how we are different and how we are the same. We talked about how wonderful it is that we can all be friends. The conversation was simple, sweet, sincere, and I enjoyed it immensely.

I was surprised to discover that many of the children didn’t understand what the word “peace” meant. As I entered this classroom, the children were making these wonderful symbols of peace but when I asked them why they were making them, they didn’t really know.

So while the children got their hands painted to make their hand prints, we talked about the word and meaning of peace – again, keeping it all in very simple terms that they could understand…

And in this class, the children were making their dreams. We talked about the word dream and how Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream that we could all be friends and be kind to one another…

The children then told the teacher what they wish could be done to help everyone be friends and the teacher recorded their responses on a dream cloud.

Not everyone was able to grasp these concepts the way they were presented today but they will as we continue to model for them the concepts of hope, love and peace…

The biggest challenge was explaining the dove. These children made a dove in their classroom, this is something I have more to say about later along a whole different line of thought, but keeping with the theme of this post – the dove also symbolized peace and this was shared with this PreK class as well. The PreK children really zoomed in on the fact that Martin Luther King had four children and that he went to college. Then they all wanted to tell me what they were going to be when they grow up!

One of the most impressionable moments of my day was when I went to visit the Kindergarten class. The children listened intently to the video and then began talking about how we all have different hair and eyes. I kept waiting to see if they would mention skin color.  And then it was brought up by one of the children.

I showed the children my hands and they noticed that my hands were bony and red. One child said, “That’s because you are old! Old people’s hands get that way” and all the children laughed:)  It was such a heartfelt day today. I really can’t describe.

So let me just leave you with this…

Preschoolers are so sweet and just too fun!

A special thanks to Preschool Daze for the wonderful ideas I was able to share with our teachers.

Links to Grow On..

Crafts for MLK Day from Frugal Family Fun Blog

Celebrating Skin Color from Mommy Moments

I have a Dream Linky from Rainbows Within Reach

This article is being shared with you by Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool - Promoting excellence in early childhood education at home and in the preschool classroom!

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