Don't underestimate the knowledge a Kindergarten student has, and the potential for them to learn. When I give my students 'free play', it is so much more than simply playing - they are learning social skills, cooperation, problem solving and so much more. I began to notice a pattern of girls being questioned as to whether or not they could 'play with the boy toys', to which I thought - this is an exceptional teachable moment. Instead of reprimanding this behaviour, it sparked an idea to create an entire weeks' worth of lesson around the importance of women in history.
We spent the first week discussing a different important woman throughout history. We discussed Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Sally Ride.
The second week, each student presented an important woman in their life to the class. They responded to two questions:
1. Who is an important woman in your life?
2. What makes them important?
Of course, I received questions like, 'Why not my dad?', 'Why only women?' 'Can I choose my brother?'
I responded by referring back to the women we learned about, and the hardships they went through; it is important that we recognize these women and others! Never underestimate a child's ability to learn and understand. They were able to comprehend why we were celebrating women, and loved the opportunity to talk about an important woman in their life.
It is imperative that we give the opportunity to the children in our classes and in our schools to learn about subjects beyond the core ones. We must open their eyes to the world and all it has to offer.