In an article for PBS Kids, Dr. Aisha White, director of the P.R.I.D.E. (Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education) Program at the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development, describes activities caregivers and educators can share with young children. Dr. White points out that the arts are a powerful learning tool, and Black art can help empower and educate young children. Dr. White shares activity ideas using the artist, Jacob Lawerence, as inspiration:
Lawrence liked to use very few colors in his paintings. In The Migration Series, he painted with the same colors from panel to panel. Ask your child to use only the colors red, yellow, dark green, slate blue, and brown — The Migration Series colors — in a picture they draw themselves. Next, they can fill in black and white paintings. Afterwards, ask them to talk about their pictures. Was it hard to use only five colors? If so, why?
As another way to introduce the visual arts to young children, ask them to look at a Lawrence image. What do they see? Have them call out the various colors and which ones they believe the artist used most. Ask questions like: Why do you think the artist chose to use those colors in particular? Where do you think people are in this particular image? Are there particular shapes that appear frequently, like circles, squares, or diagonal lines? Do the people look happy, sad, anxious? Why?
If you are looking for additional books to share with young learners, you might enjoy this article from the G2K archives: Books to Celebrate Black History Month.