Black History IS American History
By: Myrna Alphonse
As a Haitian- American Nanny who has primarily worked with Caucasian families, I have always felt a special mission to actively teach them something about Black History. I come from a legacy of ancestors who were the first liberated people from colonialism thanks to the efforts of Toussaint Louverture. I was destined to share my rich heritage! From preschoolers to teens, I make fun interactive projects for us to carry on for the designated month of February. One of my favorite themes involves studying African American Inventors. You can pick one like George Washington Carver and learn about his contributions. Your charges can stretch their imagination to think outside the box and make up an invention of their own with a natural product. Just think how eco friendly their inventions could prove to be!
You could also choose an area of study like engineering or medicine and study the individuals who have made significant contributions to the field. The important point to remember is to follow your charges interests and you will capture their interest in a subject area. My former 6 year old charge was a reading enthusiast, so it was easy to rope him in with a challenge. I bet I can find more African American authors than you? So off he went, to seek some out and eventually read their unique tales. Have fun with it, and the possibilities are endless! I love playing, “I spy, an African American invention…” In fact, every year I learn something from my own charges research too. They love to teach us something that they know.
Some kids just aren’t into academic subjects but every kid loves a party! For the charge who loves to celebrate, invite them to make a birthday party for Dr. Martin Luther King. They can follow this simple recipe and make a cake that is worth bringing everyone together for a slice of this rewarding lesson. First separately prepare each cake batter in separate bowls according to package directions. Pour into a pan the yellow cake mix and add swirls of chocolate cake mix in with a toothpick. During their swirling prep, discuss Dr. Kings wish that children of all colors would work & play together. Let’s see what happens when they bake together. Put your cake in the oven and it will make a beautifully marbled cake. Allow the children to notice the beauty of their masterpiece. Frost & decorate with sprinkles-ENJOY!
-One package of yellow cake mix (represents fair complexions)
-One package of chocolate cake mix (represents dark complexions)
-favorite frosting & rainbow sprinkles
For kids of all ages, emphasize that Black History IS American History with enough interesting fun facts to explore year round.
Myrna Alphonse is a career nanny/parent consultant of 19 years transitioning to the counseling field. She specializes in families in crisis by bringing calm to chaos. Myrna resides in Washington, DC.