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Celebrating Black History and Diversity Builds Self Esteem and Empathy.

By: By Too Small to Fail


Every February, teachers across America highlight the important contributions

that African Americans have made to United States history, culture, and

economy. Integral to these conversations is the importance of diversity, and

teaching children to appreciate the differences—and commonalities—among

their fellow human beings. But children can begin learning about diversity and

celebrating African American history before they begin school. In fact, parents

and caregivers can help children understand early on that appreciating the

differences among us enriches all our lives.

Young children often pick up on the differences among human beings early

on, but can learn that difference is a positive trait, rather than a negative one.

A positive view of diversity is taught by building self-concept, or self-esteem,

as well as empathy. When young children are taught to empathize with

others—or, to put themselves in others’ shoes—they learn important social

and emotional skills that benefit their relationships, communication skills and

personal development. Additionally, children can develop positive self-esteem

by learning to take pride in their accomplishments and talents, as well as

those of their peers.

Parents and caregivers can use Black History Month as an opportunity to

discuss difference and diversity in a positive way, and to encourage children

to be proud of how they look and what they can achieve. By using stories from

history, songs and dances that celebrate diversity and encourage self-esteem,

parents can help ensure that their children will grow up with a positive outlook

for life and respect for the world around them.

Resources for Sharing:

These articles, activities and even recipes from PBS will help parents

and caregivers celebrate diversity with their children year round.

Books and activities for sharing with kids, from Reading Rockets.

• Ideas for books, songs and art activities—as well as a personal

story about celebrating diversity—from the Artful Parent blog.

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