Friday, April 23, 2021

National Museum of African American History and Culture launches children’s diversity and inclusion activity booklets and programming

Inspired by its children’s book A Is for All the Things You Are: A Joyful ABC Book, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture recently launched a new activity booklet series designed for infants, toddlers and early learners. The Joyful ABC Activity Booklet series provides caregivers and educators with guides to support children’s positive identity development while also growing their language and literacy skills using interactive learning activities, museum objects and vocabulary based on characteristics featured in the book.

The booklet series centers black joy in childhood as an act of resistance and strength in the face of this past year’s unprecedented challenges. It includes two editions: one for infants and toddlers (ages birth to 3) and one for early learners (ages 3 to 5). Each Joyful ABC Activity Booklet provides early childhood caregivers and educators with:

  • Insight into children’s developmental stages
  • Age-appropriate play and art activities
  • Literacy- and language-development experiences
  • Opportunities to look closely at museum objects
  • Suggested books, videos, articles and other resources

Through July, four additional booklets will be made available for free download the first Monday of every month. Activity booklets for letters A–I are currently available to download for free on the Joyful ABC Activity Booklets webpage.

“Created through an anti-bias/anti-racist lens, these booklets support children’s growth into confident, compassionate, socially aware and inclusive individuals who embrace their uniqueness,” said Anna Forgerson Hindley, director of early childhood education at the museum. “The new booklets focus on empowering children to see themselves as multifaceted individuals, but use accessible and age-appropriate activities and museum-related objects to help kids develop their own sense of justice and understanding of others.”

In addition, the new interactive activity booklet series will be explored during the museum’s free weekly children’s art program, Joyful Fridays. Designed for children ages 4–8, Joyful Fridays’ museum educators will discuss featured museum objects and lead an art project inspired by the booklet themes released for the month while celebrating black joy, history and culture. The program takes place every Friday through July at 11 am ET. Registered participants receive a list of simple supplies needed, recommended books and links to related online resources. This information can also be found in the museum’s Joyful Fridays Learning Lab collection the first Monday each month. Participants can register for the free program at https://nmaahc.si.edu/events/upcoming. Past programs can be found on the museum’s UStream page.

NMAAHC’s Early Childhood Education Initiative works to support children’s joy in human diversity and inclusion and develop a child’s sense of justice and racial identity. The initiative educates children from birth to 8 years old by providing age-appropriate materials and resources for caregivers and educators to support children’s growth. The Early Childhood Education Initiative web page has more education and child development resources.

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