As early years practitioners, we have both a legal and moral duty to take into account a child’s race and ensure that each develops a positive sense of self. Childminders play a significant role in shaping a child’s world view. Young minds, ever so curious and observant, are quick to pick up nuances and absorb the multifaceted world around them. By introducing them to the stories, achievements, and contributions of Black people, we not only enrich their knowledge but also help foster a foundation of understanding, empathy, and respect.
Being proactive is paramount. Regardless of how diverse our setting might be, the world outside is a rich blend of cultures, traditions, and histories. And every child under our care should receive consistent and positive messages about race. Research has shown that young children, even babies, do notice differences in skin colour. Instead of promoting a “colour-blind” approach where everyone is treated the same, it’s essential to celebrate individuality while ensuring everyone is treated equally.
How to incorporate Black History Month in your setting
1. Diverse story time: Reading is magical. It’s a gateway to myriad worlds, cultures, and lives. This month, take the opportunity to delve into Parakeet Books, an independent publisher that brings diverse stories to life. With protagonists that span genders, ethnicities, and abilities, their books can offer a refreshing perspective.
*Editor’s note: The founders of Parakeet Books also created the Childminder App. Both the app and the books were born of necessity as they raised their children. Quite the dynamic duo, aren’t they?
2. Arts & crafts: Small things can have great impact. For example, having varied skin tone crayons and paints can make a world of difference. As children create, share stories of notable Black figures, making history both fun and interactive.
3. Music & dance: From jazz to afrobeat, there’s a rich tapestry of Black musical contributions to explore. Dance to different beats, teaching children about their origins and significance.
4. Simple conversations: Begin age-appropriate discussions around Black History Month. Encourage questions, ensure a comfortable environment, and always promote positive discourse.
5. Diverse playtime: From artwork sourced from across the globe to varied role-play resources, ensure your setting mirrors the world’s diversity. Different music styles, toys representing multiple ethnicities, and even everyday materials can educate as much as they entertain.
Black History Month isn’t just a month; it’s a mindset, an approach, a commitment to ensuring the next generation values, respects, and understands the beauty of diversity. And isn’t that what we’re here for? To help young minds and hearts blossom into their best, most inclusive selves.
Here’s to an October filled with learning, appreciation, and fun with our little wonders. Happy Black History Month!