We often emphasize that RCMA offers a bilingual, bicultural curriculum. But we serve children and families with a wide range of cultural backgrounds. And we know it’s important for our children to learn all aspects of history, so they can develop empathy and to help them as future leaders.
This month, our centers and schools are celebrating Black History Month. Approximately 13% of our 5,500 children are Black, which may surprise some people who think our families are Hispanic (about 60%).
Black history is filled with great cultural traditions and heroes whose goodness, courage and perseverance make great stories for children of all ages. At RCMA, our child development centers and charter schools find many meaningful ways to study the topic.
At Wimauma Community Academy, 4th grade scholars shared their thoughts, ideas and connections after reading the biography “Delivering Justice: W.W. Law and the Fight for Civil Rights” by Jim Haskins and illustrated by Benny Andreas. The scholars used text evidence to show how Westley Wallace Law made a difference for civil rights. They also shared their opinions of who they think are the most inspiring “Famous Black Figures” and addressed how words lead to change and how one person can make a difference.’
At Immokalee Community Academy, Principal Zulaika Quintero had an interesting conversation with a Kindergarten student, who said, “Mrs. Quintero, did you know Harriet Tubman was a woman who helped free slaves?” When the principal asked why this was important for Harriet Tubman, the little girl said, “I think because she cared about people and wanted people to be happy.”
Zulaika says, “It’s imperative that our students learn about real history now than it has before. Not just when it is a month to be celebrated but throughout the entire school year. This is why parents choose Immokalee Community Academy.”
Other ways our schools and centers engaged children and their families:
- Decorated classroom doors
- Created homemade books featuring African foods
- Set up displays for parents to look at that highlight the accomplishments of African Americans
- Provided multicultural papers and crayons
- Posted pictures in classrooms of Black history heroes, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks
- Wrote letters in English and Creole
- Shared articles and information related to Black history through monthly newsletters sent by the schools and centers to parents
- Read and performed the story about Rosa Parks
- Made sure there were African American dolls in the classrooms
- Read books and made drawings based on Black History stories