A few weeks ago, at morning meeting, we were looking over the calendar for the month ahead (January) and discussing events that were coming up. “Oh and school is closed on this Monday” I said, pointing to the box marked the 16th. “Why?” one of the children asked. “To celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King” I answered quickly, without truly thinking about what that meant. “Who is that?” was asked next. A conversation began about Dr. King, who he was and why we celebrate his birthday. Looking around, the children seemed a little confused by the information. “Would you like to learn more about him? Maybe read some books?” I asked, thinking about how to make Dr. King’s message of equality for all a little less abstract. “Yeah!” the children responded, looking much less confused and much more enthusiastic.
Over the next few weeks, we read books about Dr. King, Rosa Parks, watched a bit of the “I have a dream” speech and engaged in dialogue about history, equality, fairness, dreams and attempted to discover what we thought about the word—peace.
We wrapped up our study of the work of Dr. King, through a project where we traced our hands on to paper, cut them out and marveled at the different shapes and colors we found. Next, we brought out our skin color paints and painted the paper hands with a kaleidoscopic of skin colors. Finally, we built upon our previous dialogue and spoke about the question: What is peace? What is a dream? What is your dream of peace?
Even though we wrapped up our study of this work… our exploration of these themes: history, equality, fairness, dreams, peace and even kindness will come up again. It may happen through natural curiosity and discussion and also through future holidays such as Purim, Passover, and day of remembrance.
Please come check out our poster board in our class to see what we’ve created.