How To Teach Children About Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the most transformational and inspirational people in history. Even young children can learn about his positive messages and develop their own ideas about what they dream about.
The best way to teach preschool age children about MLK is to start by introducing the children to who MLK was and what he did. Start off by asking when children have felt left out. Follow that up by inviting kids to tell how they felt when they were left out. Next, ask them how they could make sure that others do not feel left out in the future. Even young children will come to the concepts of treating others fairly and equally as a good method to make sure others don’t feel left out. At this point, talk about Dr. King’s experience with racism when he was young, and how that inspired him to seek out equality for all.
Who’s the boss?
Next, discuss how we can get other people to act the way we would like them to behave. Discuss how others might feel if you tried to boss them around or hurt them. Again, children will quickly understand that others will not be receptive to these techniques. Talk about the positive power of telling others how we should act instead of telling them how not to behave and how this approach will take practice. Now, discuss how Dr. King used his words to describe what his dream was to others. It may be useful to quote some lines from Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech, such as “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
To illustrate equality to the children, have them trace their hands on various colors of construction paper and cut out the hands. Then, use the hands from multiple children in different colors to create a collage.
Finally, discuss with the children what their dreams are and how they can be positive role models. Have the kids create a picture of their dreams and tell each other what their dreams are. The preschoolers can even talk about how they can help each other achieve their dreams.
Here are some great books to help preschool children learn all about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his dream:
A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. by David A. Adler (illustrated by Robert Casilla)
Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Robin Hill School) by Margaret McNamara (illustrated by Mike Gordon)
Happy Birthday, Martin Luth King Jr. by Jean Marzollo (illustrated by J. Brian Pinkney)