Celebrating Black History Month

In January we honored the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which offered us all a chance to reflect on his legacy of peace. Perhaps you read a special story with your kids or spoke to them about the importance of love. This February as we observe Black History Month, we have another opportunity to teach young children not only the significance of being peaceful, but also the value of celebrating diversity in all its forms. Whether it’s the way we look, the way we talk, the way we move, or the way we act, the characteristics that make us different are the same ones that make us unique. One simple activity to help inspire kids to think about diversity is to ask them what they love about themselves and what they love about others. When we encourage little ones to celebrate individuality, it reinforces the message that being different is ok, that it’s a beautiful part of being human.

If you need a hand coming up with great inspiration for incorporating Black History Month into circle time, free play, or at-home fun, check out the resources in our Celebrating Black History Pinterest board. There are books, crafts, and activities to get the conversation started and help kids think about the importance of peace, diversity, and acceptance. BANANAS also has two very exciting family events this month: African Folktales and Flavors of Jamaica. Come and join us for these free celebrations!


Thanks a Bunch: Teaching Gratitude

Happy New Year! We’re so excited to be embarking on a new year here at BANANAS, and as we kick off 2015 with lots of informative workshops, including our Booties Camp parenting series and QRIS provider trainings, we can’t help but reflect on all that we are grateful for. And it just so happens that January is National Thank You Month, so we want to give a big shout out of thanks to our hard-working clients, our amazing team of instructors, our community of generous donors, and everyone who contributes to the work we do. Thanks!

We understand that teaching kids about gratitude can be a challenge. With so many other important life skills being taught every day, gratitude can easily be overlooked. But when parents and child care professionals instill this meaningful value, it benefits kids in numerous ways. Former Early Childhood Education Director and current BANANAS Resource & Referral Counselor Joan Suflita notes that teaching gratitude to young children creates a sense of connectedness. She says, “For young children, connectedness is critical for their survival as well as their development. It also increases self-worth. When we appreciate others and when others appreciate us, it makes us more aware of how much we are worth. And the more you notice or appreciate what is in your life, the more you see what there is to appreciate.” Suflita also sees benefits to those who work in the child care field. “For ECE professionals, I think gratitude is critical because it sets up a disposition of the mind. That’s important because all our work is centered around interactions and those interactions create a connectedness.”

To support parents and providers, we put together a Pinterest board of simple crafts to do with little ones as well as a variety of books to foster a growing understanding of gratitude. It can be as easy as taking a moment to appreciate how warm the sun feels, how nice a meal tastes, or how fun it is to spend time with a grandma or grandpa. Talk to your child about what you are thankful for and ask them to tell you their ideas. You may discover that your lists are longer than you realized!