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Inspiring Ideas for Celebrating Black History Month

Feb 16, 2023    |   Celebrating DiversityWinter

February is Black history month – an opportunity to be intentional about listening to Black stories, learning about Black history, and celebrating Black culture. As educators, it is important that we regularly reflect on how we can make our classroom environments more equitable and inclusive.  In this article, you’ll find resources to support your work with young children, as well as songs and videos you can incorporate into your program’s Black History Month celebrations.

Inspiring Resources for Educators

Learn Black History Through Art

This article, written by Aisha White, Ph.D., for PBS Kids is a great read for educators who are looking for new ways to celebrate Black history with the children in their care. Dr. White is the 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. In her article, Dr. White shares how Black art can help children learn about history and culture:

“When presented in ways that children can appreciate, art has been proven to produce academic benefits such as increased vocabulary, plus math and reading growth, as well as behavioral benefits such as social-emotional learning…The arts in general, and Black art in particular, can help children resist race-based negativity, giving them the strength, confidence and self-assurance that will help protect them from racial injustices for years to come.”

Black Children’s Snapshot

Together with the CA Black Health Network, and CA Black Women’s Health Project, The Children’s Partnership has released a data snapshot that centers Black children and youth in California, entitled A Child Is A Child. The snapshot focuses on the backgrounds and resilience of Black children and youth, as well as systemic inequities and challenges they face across a range of issues that negatively impact healthy development. The data snapshot also uplifts community-defined practices and care that develop and reinforce protective factors— conditions or attributes that help mitigate or eliminate risks to health and well-being in Black children and youth.

Honoring Black Excellence in Early Childhood

This article from Zero Three celebrates Black History Month by recognizing the impact of Black early childhood educators, authors, and caregivers. You’ll find inspiring interviews with Black leaders in the early childhood field, including the following:

  • Brenda Jones Harden, PhD, Professor of Social Work at Columbia and President of the ZERO TO THREE Board of Directors

  • Clinton Boyd, Jr., Ph.D., the Executive Director of Fathers, Families, & Healthy Communities and a former ZERO TO THREE Fellow

  • Tammy Mann, PhD, President and CEO for The Campagna Center and Chair of the Committee on the Board of Directors of ZERO TO THREE.

Black History Buff

This podcast, which was developed by Kur Lewis, highlights people and stories within Black history. Lewis originally developed the podcast as a way to teach his own son about Black history. Each episode is brief (about 10-20 minutes per episode) – perfect for listening during your commute or on your break.

Songs & Videos that Young Children will Enjoy 

Let’s Celebrate Black History Song! from Sesame Street 

Friends and characters from the cast of Sesame Street, including Gabrielle, Tamir, Elmo, and Abby, are featured in this free video that celebrates all the different ways that Black and African American families, friends, and neighbors change the world! Share this video with the children in your care and invite them to sing along.

I am the Dream: Black History song from Mr. Pete’s Playhouse

This fun and upbeat video is an inspiring song for young children that celebrates the potential that we all have to make a difference. The song features several important Black men and women who have made history–  from Maya Angelou and Harriet Tubman to Barack and Michelle Obama.  Children will enjoy the song’s catchy and uplifting beat, and educators can share more information about each of the inspiring people who are introduced in the song. 

Featured Read Aloud from Tandem Early Learning: Hair Love

This read-aloud features the children’s book, Hair Love, the story of Zuri, who has wonderful hair that she wants to style just right for a special day. This story celebrates Black culture, while highlighting the special relationship between a father and his daughter. 

Watch the free read aloud with the children in your care and download Tandem’s accompanying storytime activity guide to extend the learning with activity ideas and conversation tips. Resources are available in additional languages below.

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