Today I set up signs around the room with the NO symbol covering a picture of girls, boys, brunettes, and blonds. These were placed in the dramatic play area, woodworking area, dry table, and the writing table. Many of you saw more than I, but essentially, the idea is for kids to know that they can’t play in certain area just because of their gender or hair color. Most kids followed the rules, but when I asked them at circle to remember the new rules, a few of them asked why they couldn’t play everywhere. I said I just decided that it was better if I decided based on what they looked like. Barkley looked at me said, “You’re fired.” “But why” I asked? “Because you won’t let everyone play everywhere.” I asked the rest of the group if I should be fired. I received mixed reviews, so I asked them why shouldn’t just boys get to play in dramatic play. Aesa said it wasn’t fair. Avery said he was just going to play in the woodworking anyway. I asked the group if they thought it was fair. Most chimed in with “no, everybody should get to play everywhere.”
At this point, I told them how proud I was of them for standing up for everyone. We then read a shorter version of Happy Birthday Martin Luther King, a book written for this age to understand some of the unfair rules we had years ago. The kids agreed that it wasn’t fair. Someone mentioned that Dr. King was killed. So, we kept a low profile on this just saying that, “yes, someone killed him because they didn’t like what he was saying.” That brought us to mention Dr. King's belief in finding other ways to solve problems rather than fighting. I asked them how we settle problems in school and they all said by talking.
I never know how this experiment will go with this age, so I was very proud of them for understanding that it is not fair to leave people out just because of the way they look. My thanks to Julianna and Josh for all of their help today!