Holocaust Remembrance Day is May 2nd. This can be an excellent opportunity to teach your children about the Holocaust. I will be concentrating mainly on the K-4th grade levels, with emphasis on 1st grade, as that is the level I will be working at with my son. This topic is a good time to teach differences, sameness and prejudices. Kindergarten thru 2nd grade should be able to grasp the ideas that we have differences that make us special, and that people can be different and the same.
Objectives: To understand the concept of stereotyping and prejudice and to appreciate diversity.
To encourage cooperation. There are many great books out there on this subject matter and you can check with your local library for suggestions. The book I’ll be reading is The Crayon Box That Talked, by S. DeRolf. After reading the book ask the following questions:
- Why do the yellow and green crayons say they don't like the red one?
- In what way does the little girl use the crayons when she gets home?
- What happens when the colors touch each other?
- When the picture was finished what changed the crayons opinions of each other?
- What is the message of the story?
Reinforce and discuss the concepts of prejudice, diversity, and cooperation from the story. Have children think about other examples of these ideas.
I think this is also a good time to teach or reinforce tolerance (and intolerance) in the home. We are not born with prejudices or stereotypes but they develop very early in life, as does the quest for identity, which is a strong human need. We can teach our children that we have an identity and that other identities are just as interesting and just as valuable. We can encourage our children to experience the positive aspects of diversity rather than a fear of diversity.
In the home, this means that we as parents must become aware of and sensitive to our own stereotypes, prejudices and intolerance. We need to monitor our attitudes and behavior because everything we say and do has an influence on our children’s ability to tolerate diversity. Tolerance and intolerance are learned. If we fear differences, our children will too. Teaching tolerance is a responsibility parents need to take seriously. As educators of the next generation, we have an obligation to stand up against bigotry, racism and prejudice in all its forms.
If you are teaching older children here is a great site with valuable information, ideas, resources, and more on the holocaust.
If you have a lesson plan idea for Holocaust Remembrance Day, I would love to hear them. Hope to hear from you! Enjoy Life!!!