It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day—a day to commemorate the goals and achievements of this great man. It isn’t easy to teach about MLK at the elementary level without oversimplifying racial inequality (or going overboard so that the lesson goes over their heads).
My favorite “lesson” about race wasn’t even a lesson I prepared at all. Evan, a child in my developmental kindergarten class, announced to his classmates one day that he had dark skin and some people said that wasn’t as good as white skin. (Evan was the only black child in my class that year.) I asked him what he thought about that, and he said those people were wrong. I agreed. And then all of my students held out their arms and started comparing skin tone. Rather than black and white, those five-year-olds noticed that everyone’s skin is a different color. In addition, some of us had freckles, scars, and moles as well. After we all agreed that our differences (and similarities) make us really awesome, the kindergartners abandoned the topic as kindergartners do. Best. Lesson. Ever.
Have a peaceful and reflective Martin Luther King Jr. Day.