Black history is American history. Educating our youngest learners on our country’s past is essential to creating a more equitable future. Celebrating Black history creates inclusive environments, ensures Black children see role models who look like them, and starts important conversations from an early age. It’s an important opportunity for reflection and celebration. In honor of Black History Month, children in Head Start classrooms across the country learn about and celebrate the impact of Black leaders, from Civil Rights icons to individuals in their own communities.

Children at Rise and Shine Early Learning Head Start celebrate Black History Month, February 2021.

At Rise and Shine Early Learning, Head Start children learn about a different Black leader every day of Black History Month. “On the first day of this month we explored the beauty and culture of Black women’s hair, which led us into exploring Madam CJ Walker,” teacher Kayla Schramm shared. “The next day we explored Rosa Parks and created our own bus.”

At Lutheran Services Florida, celebrations included an “I Have Dream” activity, taking inspiration from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech, to encourage children to achieve their own dreams. Head Start children and their parents have gone on to reach ambitious goals, becoming the elected government officials, business owners, artists, teachers, doctors, and respected community members we know.

Students at Paducah Head Start celebrated by learning about Black-owned businesses in their own community. Through role-playing activities, children had the opportunity to be a part of businesses like Big Ed’s Restaurant, Jonestown Barbershop, Happy’s Chili Parlor, Tender Touch Auto Detailing and more.

“I am so proud of our staff for thinking outside the box on how they could make Black History ‘real’ to our students, and the impact they can have in our community in the future,” said Kristy Smith Lewis, director of Paducah Head Start Preschool.

How will your program celebrate this year? Share with us.

Lucy Truschel

Lucy Truschel is manager of Communications at NHSA. Prior to joining the Head Start community, she was an Assistant Director for Frost Valley YMCA and an Early Childhood Policy Intern for the Center for American Progress.

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