Black History Month would be a great opportunity to talk with your students about each student’s hair and texture.
Begin by reading the book “I Love My Hair, by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley. Then discuss the book with your students about all the different hairstyles that the little girl put her hair in; discuss hair textures, lengths, and colors. Bring to circle time two pair of scissors, one that is used to cut hair and the other that is used to cut paper. Wrap the blades with tape for the hair scissors so the students won’t get cut and it’s safe for them to be handled; discuss scissor safety.
Turn your Dramatic Play Area into a beauty salon, barbershop. If possible, provide students with wigs on their holders that have different hair textures, colors and lengths, add combs and hair accessories so that the students can use them to experiment with. Provide aprons, gloves, old hair dryers, flat irons with the cords removed and pretend scissors, you can make them out of cardboard, don’t use the scissors from your art center, this will only confuse your students; since you want them to understand that scissors in the art center should be used for cutting paper only.
Next read the book Bippity, Bop Barbershop, also written by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley. Talk about the little boy’s first hair cut, have parents bring in pictures of their son’s first hair cut, and have each boy share their picture with the class. You can do this with the girls as well, but most African American girls don’t get haircuts so you can use that as a discussion piece also.
Bring to circle time, the scissors for paper and hair and hair clippers, explain how each is used to cut different types of hair. Bring in more hair pieces that represent boys’ hair, that is different colors, textures, and lengths. Add hair clippers, combs and hair picks to the Dramatic play area, explain what each item is used for. (Be sure to remove the cords if any)
Did you know that different cultures have special times when their child gets his first haircut? This would be a great time to implement it into your curriculum. In my family, a boy can only get his haircut after he has turned one- years- old. Talk to your parents and see what their family traditions are. You can purchase wigs on their holders from a Discount store, Thrift store or get them donated to your school by an organization or parents, you can also use dolls or doll heads. To make the dolls stand up, use a paper towel stand, tape the dolls or head to the stand so that the doll and heads will stand up, students will be able to work with them that way.
I believe that if you allow students to understand each other and have the opportunity to experiment with things that are different, they learn not to fear the unknown and become more open to new situations and friends.
Author: Natasha Anastasia Tarpley