Black History Month 2020
This year, the international theme for Black History Month was ‘African American and the Vote,’ in honour of 100 years since women’s suffrage was granted and 150 years since black men were given the right to vote. Children in Year 1 and Year 2 learnt about what voting is and why it is important. Then they took part in their own class votes to elect their student councillor for the year.
Congratulations to our new student councillors who were elected by their class peers!
At Altmore, the children also learnt about a specific person in Black History linked to their topic learning in the afternoons.
Nursery children will be focusing on ‘Little Leaders’ for Black History Month during the first week back after half term. This is due to spending Term 1 settling children and new arrivals in to the Nursery. During the first week back, children will be learning about a different leader each day; Bessie Coleman, Mae Jemison, Ella Fitzgerald, Alma Woodsey Thomas and Tessa Sanderson, with the provision for children matching the profession of each leader.
Children in Reception focused on Martin Luther King and his famous speech ‘I Have a Dream.’ They thought about their own hopes and dreams and recorded their answers in a variety of ways including orally and by drawing pictures.
As part of their Cornerstones topic, Year 1 children have been learning about real life heroes, including Florence Nightingale and her nursing work. During Black History week, they then focused on learning about a famous nurse from the past called Mary Seacole. Born in Jamaica and moved to the United Kingdom, Mary then travelled to Turkey to help injured soldiers who battled in the Crimean War. The children learnt interesting facts about Mary’s life and the medicines she made and they compared her life and work to that of Florence Nightingale’s. They also studied a famous painting of Mary Seacole and used this to create a colourful silhouette portrait of her, which created some wonderful displays in classrooms.
As part of their Cornerstones topic, Year 2 children have been learning about Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his famous designs and building of the Thames Tunnel in London. During Black History week, they then learnt about Mary Jackson, a scientist and mathematician also known as ‘The Human Computer’ for how quickly she could compute and solve calculations and equations. Mary Jackson also became NASA’s first black female engineer and she spent a lot of time conducting many experiments in a high-speed wind tunnel. The children completed some excellent work including writing as letter in role as Mary at university to her family and writing acrostic poems to describe her and her amazing achievements. Additionally, in Art, the children created their own collages of Mary Jackson in their class and they added words to describe what she was like.
Shiva, our Music lead, created some super playlists for teachers and children to listen to throughout the week, celebrating the talent and music from black musicians around the world. Artists on the playlists, both past and present, included Aretha Franklin, Bill Withers and Gregory Porter. The children also listened to a song called ‘Jerusalema’ which has become a global source of inspiration, hope and happiness since the COVID pandemic started. Children practised dancing to this song both at school and at home and it was lovely to see them celebrate this song and have fun dancing to the music.