Sharing About Martin Luther King Jr. with Preschoolers

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

As we talk about the important work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in our classroom,

  • We are careful to name that his ideas and efforts threatened many people at the time. Martin organized, marched and broke unfair laws to try help create fairer practices.
  • We also name that Martin had many friends and followers who agreed with him and took risks alongside him. While Martin is definitely a hero for a peace, he did not act alone. 
  • We invite Parents/Caregivers to consider our appreciations of MLK’s legacy to help set the stage. 


He was brave to stand up for people when others weren’t.

Kevin: When you fight for your own freedoms, you also fight for the freedoms of others.  

Mike: None of us are free if any of us are oppressed.

Cyan: Fighting for justice and equality for everyone.

Alex: He had everyone of them working together– different people.

Des: He spoke with such passion and used his words to have a profound effect on everyone who listened.

Sarah: He led with deep courage to give a fair voice to everyone.

Keith: He spoke of things that were unpopular at the time, but he knew them to be true and right so he spoke anyway!

Katie: Martin Luther King Jr. worked hard for all people to have equal rights.

John: When I went to Highschool at Tigard High, there was only one person of color; now there are bunches!

Miwa: His courage and bravery.

Natalie: His courage.

Family Share Prompt: People come in all shades of beautiful skin colors. Some people are confused and say and do things that are not fair and not kind about people with dark skin. Martin and his friends worked hard to make it more fair for all people. Grown-ups: What’s one thing you appreciate about Martin Luther King?

Josh: Peaceful protest.

Julia: Being beyond brave.

Cindy: Connect me to nonviolent protest and teachings of Gandhi.

Audrey: Inspirational words and guidance breaking through negative expectations.

Jocelyn: Courage, advocacy, justice for all.

David: Preaching love and non-violence in spite of what he faced.

James: His radicalism.

Steph: Ability to build bridges between people.

Nicole: Brave.

Sara: His bravery.


Family Share Prompt: When something is not kind or hurts our feelings, we can say “No” or “Stop.”  When something hurts a group of people or excludes them, we can say “That’s not fair.” Then we can work to change the rules or laws to make them more fair. That’s what Martin Luther King and many, many people did; and many are still doing. Once you’ve read this and understand, please sign your name.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what children are thinking and internalizing. Three parents texted to share about exchanges they had with their children following our classroom play and discussions:

  • H just wanted to play a game where he named his cement mixer Martin Luther King and my police car pushed him. I asked what MLK did and he said “Nothing, he didn’t push back. He used his words.” And now he just picked up rolled up paper and shouted through it “That’s not fair! No! Stop!” Thanks for all you’re teaching our kids!
  • We’re playing cards and T had a king in her hand. She started talking about Martin Luther King and asking me questions. I said something to her and she said “that’s what Kimberly said.” She’s retaining what she’s learning!
  • Just now on our way home from a rainy day hike up Powell Butte, Z saw someone with a sign asking for money and she was processing how that is different from the signs, “Protect the Earth” or “Welcome Ruby Bridges.” She asked me to tell her when they need money (vs. protesting) so she could “give them my coins.” Followed up with, “Do I have enough coins to give them?” 4 is a really sweet age! And exhausting! Thank you both for all your hard work! 

How White Families With Young Children Can Work To Undo Racism: “To dismantle racism, white families have a responsibility to talk to their children about how the value placed on whiteness works to promote the status quo…As we celebrate Martin Luther King Day, we remain accountable to Dr. King’s central message of undoing racism by speaking up about things that matter in our own communities. In this spirit, white families must take responsibility for challenging racial injustice and raise their children to do the same.” Read full article here.

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