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  • Melanie Patric

MLK Day! Hooray!

Today we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and I think the kids truly enjoyed talking about love, kindness, and acceptance just as much as I did!

We began our morning as usual with our calendar and weather routine. One of the children's favorite parts of this routine is dressing "Tim" the weather kid. "Time" has an assortment of seasonally appropriate clothing to choose and stick on, and he's a great help in getting the littles learning about names of clothing and where the clothing goes on the body.

Right after circle time, I opened a discussion about friendship. First, I asked each child to name some of his or her friends, then I asked how they would feel if someone said they couldn't play with the named friend anymore. The children said they would feel "sad," and "bad." We talked a little about how there used to be rules that said some children couldn't play together and that Martin Luther King Jr. helped make those rules go away. We all agreed it was good there were no rules like that anymore, and then we read Martin's Dream by Jane Kurtz with pictures by Amy June Bates.

This book served as a gentle way to introduce children to the Civil Rights movement- it had interesting pictures accompanying text that was relatable to preschool children. The older children especially related to the idea that "we should all be able to sit at the same table."

After a little more discussion, we moved on to an art project. At first, I worked with each child one-on-one to talk about how they could make a friend feel good, then I wrote down what each child said on a cloud shape. After that, I let each child draw a scene that showed their idea. We had some really good ideas- sharing, loving, and giving. Once every child had a chance to contribute, I connected all the small clouds with strings and made a mobile.

After art, the children had some free play time and they decided they would like to make a fort, so they enlisted me to bring in some chairs and a blanket. They pretended to be pets that needed a home and they rotated through the role of caretaker and pet. When the fort play was beginning to fade, I asked the children what they did to take care of the "pets," and we talked about how doing things like feeding, playing, and stroking pets was showing love and care.

We went outside and finally had some ice in our balloons from the experiment last Thursday. Some of the balloons had developed holes, so only three balloons were left to investigate. We pulled the rubber away from the ice and we loved seeing the delicate color of the ice.

We reviewed how we had filled the balloons with water and that the cold had turned the water to ice. The older children now seem to have a pretty firm grasp on the idea of water and ice being the same thing, just in different states.

While we were outside, we noticed airplanes making contrails in the sky. We wondered if a particular plane would fly above, through, or under a cloud, and after making guesses, we waited and watched. It turned out the plane flew above the cloud. That's high!

After lunch and naps, we reread Martin's Dream, then we had some fun active play time trying to bounch balloons off our heads!

I'm so happy I had the chance to deepen the children's understanding of love and acceptance- what a great MLK Day!

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