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A mixed race couple reading to their daughter

How To Teach Your Kids About Black History Month

A mixed race couple reading to their daughter

Black History Month isn't just a time to celebrate; it's a time to educate.

As parents, it's our responsibility to ensure that our children grow up understanding the world around them, which includes the rich tapestry of history and culture that has shaped societies.

This article is your go-to guide for effectively teaching your kids about Black History Month.

From books and videos to hands-on experiences like museum visits, we've got all bases covered.

Get ready for a journey of learning and celebration!

Understanding Black History

What Black History Means and Why It's Important

Understanding what Black history means is the first step to teaching it.

Black history isn't just about a series of dates or isolated events. It's a multi-faceted tapestry woven from stories of struggle, triumph, culture, and contributions to society.

Importantly, it's not 'their' history; it's 'our' history, part of the human story that every child should know.

Educational Resources

Curated Books for Learning

If you're looking to educate your children through the power of reading, there are several noteworthy books that do a fantastic job of illuminating various aspects of Black history, as well as themes of diversity and inclusion.

Here are some recommended titles:

  • The ABC's of Black History by Rio Cortez offers an alphabetical exploration of key figures and moments in Black history. Watch it here
  • Rosa Parks by Mary Nhin is an engaging read that focuses on Rosa Parks' contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. Watch it here
  • Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison celebrates remarkable Black women who have made significant contributions throughout history.
  • Hair Like Mine by Latashia Perry tackles themes of self-love and acceptance, focusing on the beauty of Black hair. Watch it here
  • The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles introduces kids to Ruby Bridges, the first African American child to attend an all-white school in the South.
  • Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly celebrates the remarkable contributions of Black women in STEM fields.
  • A Child's Introduction to African American History: The Experiences, People, and Events That Shaped Our Country by Jabari Asim offers a comprehensive overview of African American history.

Watching Educational Videos

For those who absorb information better through visuals, there are plenty of videos available that are both educational and engaging:

  • Black History Month Read Alouds | Classroom Books is a compilation of read-alouds suitable for classroom settings. Watch it here
  • Rosa Parks | Kids Read Aloud Books | Black History provides a kid-friendly introduction to Rosa Parks. Watch it here
  • Rosa Parks | Little People Big Dreams Black History Read Aloud for Kids is another fascinating read-aloud focusing on Rosa Parks. Watch it here
  • HAIR LIKE MINE by: Latashia Perry | BLACK HISTORY MONTH STORIES FOR KIDS is an animated reading of the book "Hair Like Mine". Watch it here
  • Black History Month Read Aloud | Tough Conversations Book covers more challenging topics related to Black history and is a good resource for sparking discussion. Watch it here

These curated books and videos are excellent tools to help parents teach their kids about the essential figures and events in Black history.

They also serve as resources for discussions on diversity, inclusion, and social justice.

Hands-On Learning

Conducting Research Together

How about making a family project of it?

Dive into research together, find compelling stories, and perhaps even build a family presentation.

Libraries are a treasure trove of resources, from books to interactive CDs, that can make the learning process even more engaging.

Cooking Together: A Delicious Learning Experience

Introduction to the Culinary Journey

One wonderful way to celebrate and learn about Black history and culture is through food.

Cooking together as a family not only provides a hands-on educational experience but also strengthens family bonds.

Whether you're interested in the rich, spicy flavours of Caribbean cuisine or the diverse tapestry of African dishes, there are YouTube channels that can serve as your guide.

Here are some top picks for channels specializing in African, Creole, and Caribbean cooking that both parents and kids will love.

YouTube Channels to Follow

  1. Caribbean Mimi

    • If you're after the authentic taste of the Caribbean, look no further than Caribbean Mimi. With over 6.9K subscribers, this channel brings you step-by-step recipes from Jamaican, Haitian, and Trinidadian cuisines.
  2. Smokin' & Grillin with AB

  3. Assiette Creole by Frenie

    • If Haitian cuisine intrigues you, then you must check out Assiette Creole by Frenie. This channel offers a plethora of recipes from appetizers to desserts, complete with step-by-step instructions.(Note: you will need subtitles)
  4. Bezalea:God&Food

    • Last but not least, Bezalea:God&Food combines African and Caribbean recipes in a unique blend. With over 14.8K subscribers, the channel offers simple, step-by-step recipes featuring dishes from Nigeria, Jamaica, and Haiti.

Cooking as a Learning Opportunity

These YouTube channels are not just about following recipes; they're about creating an immersive learning experience.

You'll hear the stories behind the food, learn about the people who created them, and perhaps even pick up a bit of history along the way. It's a win-win situation:

You get to enjoy delectable meals while educating your kids about the richness and diversity of Black history and culture.

Art Projects Celebrating Black Culture

Get those creative juices flowing!

You could pick an influential figure like Nelson Mandela or Maya Angelou and create a drawing or painting.

Or how about crafting your own "freedom quilt" like those used on the Underground Railroad?

Music and Celebration

Listening to Music by Black Artists

From jazz and blues originating in Harlem to gospel hymns that played a significant role in the civil rights movement, music is a powerful medium for understanding Black history.

Create a playlist and let the songs tell their stories.

Everyday Discussions and Actions

Talking About Diversity and Inclusion

One of the most effective ways to instil the values of diversity and inclusion in your children is to incorporate these concepts into everyday discussions.

Use day-to-day experiences as teaching moments.

For example, if your child mentions something they heard about race or ethnicity, don't shy away from the conversation.

Tackle it head-on, offering a balanced viewpoint and encouraging open dialogue.

Celebrating Black Icons

It's crucial to highlight the significant contributions of Black individuals in various fields, from science and technology to arts and politics.

Discuss iconic figures such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Barack Obama, sharing their stories and achievements.

This can also serve as a great homework project or an inspiring bedtime story.

Highlighting Current Events

To make the learning experience more dynamic and current, link past and present by discussing recent events related to Black history and culture.

For example, the Black Lives Matter movement or achievements by current Black public figures in various sectors.

This can help your children understand that history isn't just something that happened a long time ago; it's continually being made.

UK-Based Museums and Libraries for Black History Education

Dynamic Learning Spaces

If you're based in the UK and wish to immerse your children in environments rich with cultural history and knowledge, there are a plethora of museums and libraries dedicated to teaching about Black history and culture.

These educational venues offer various resources, sessions, and guided tours that can greatly enrich your child's understanding of these crucial topics.

Notable Museums and Archives

  • Black Cultural Archives features a rich collection of archives, objects, and exhibitions documenting the history of Black individuals in Britain. Learn More

  • Museumand - The National Caribbean Heritage Museum is a treasure trove of artefacts and information related to Caribbean heritage. Learn More

  • The Africa Centre offers diverse cultural exhibits and educational programmes focused on Africa and its diaspora. Learn More

  • Black History Walks gives you and your children the chance to explore London's rich Black history through guided walking tours. Learn More

  • National Jazz Archive documents the history of jazz music, a genre with deep roots in Black culture. Learn More

Library Resources and Educational Programs

  • Reading Museum offers virtual sessions focusing on Black history that can supplement your child’s learning experience. Learn More

  • British Museum has a variety of galleries that support history topics such as ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, British prehistory, and Benin. Learn More

  • National Museums Liverpool offers a library of videos exploring people, moments, and history related to Black culture. Learn More

These curated museums and libraries offer enriching opportunities to engage your children in learning about Black history, not just during Black History Month but throughout the year.

Whether you opt for a virtual session, a guided walking tour, or an in-person museum visit, these resources provide valuable perspectives on diversity, inclusion, and social justice.

Additional Tips

Encourage Critical Thinking

As your kids absorb all this information, it's essential to cultivate their critical thinking skills.

Don't just ask them to memorize dates or names but encourage them to ask 'why' and 'how.' Pose questions like, "Why do you think Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat?" or "What impact did Martin Luther King Jr. have on civil rights?"

Celebrate Diversity in All Its Forms

While focusing on Black history, also take the opportunity to talk about the broader spectrum of diversity, including ethnicity, culture, and religion.

Help your children appreciate the beauty in our world's varied tapestry.

Conclusion

Teaching your kids about Black History Month isn't just a responsibility; it's an opportunity—an opportunity to enrich their understanding of the world and the diverse cultures that populate it.

From reading books and watching documentaries to visiting museums and engaging in meaningful conversations, every little step counts.

After all, the seeds you plant today will help grow a generation of informed, empathetic, and empowered individuals.

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