Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed on the third Monday each January. King’s birthday is January 15, so the observance falls around the time of his birthday. Many schools observe this holiday and are closed for the day, but many workplaces are not, so there will be lots of kids in daycare that are normally in school. These school age kids will likely learn about Martin Luther King Jr. in school, and there may be some activities in daycare.
Martin Luther King Jr. is probably the most recognizable figure in the American Civil Rights movement. He brought attention to race issues in the 1960’s. He rallied citizens to end racial segregation by use of non-violent protest. He also worked to end poverty and bring about an end to the Vietnam War, before he was assassinated in 1968.
The Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011, protesting social and economic inequality, also used nonviolent protest, championed by Dr. King and Mahatma Gandhi. These methods have been successful in bringing attention to various causes. The First Amendment to the constitution protects the rights of Americans, including the right to freedom of speech and the freedom to peaceably assemble, meaning that by following a few simple rules, protesters are free to gather and speak their minds.
It’s important for kids to learn not only about history, but how what has happened in the past affects current events and their futures. Children born in the 1990’s and 2000’s have never grown up with segregation and oftentimes, cannot fathom why anybody would treat somebody differently due to the color of their skin. This is Dr. King’s dream come true, and it was through the work of peaceful activists.
The children in daycare on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, learning about the man and his legacy, are also learning that ordinary people have the power to change the world for the good of all mankind. They have an opportunity to make their voices and ideas heard.
As parents, we have the opportunity to hear what our children have learned and discuss it with them. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is an excellent opportunity to discuss history and current events with our children. Dr. King is a wonderful example of how one person really can make a difference in the world. What an encouraging message for all of us!