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EXPLORATION OF SKIN TONES

Objectives:

  1. Children will explore various skin tones.

  2. Children recognize and build understanding of the diversity of skin tone at BCS in their communities and the world.

  3. Children understand what determines an individual’s skin tone and the roles of melanin

  4. Children understand that skin is simply a covering for our bodies. It does not provide other information about an individual and does not impact an individual’s rights.

Vocabulary:

  1. Skin tone – What is it? We all have a skin tone, there is variation. Skin is the covering of our bodies. You can’t tell what a person is like, thinks, feels, or enjoys by their skin tone.

  2. Melanin (pigment in the skin) – We talk about how our skin color is determined by how active and excited the melanin in our skin – the more active melanin is the darker the skin, eyes, hair, or freckles. Skin tone does not determine value.

“We have different skins, see… different colors” – 3 year old

At the Burlington Children’s Space we use skin tone art mediums (crayons, markers paint and colored pencils) so children can accurately represent skin tone in their work. Children have access to the photos of their family and the families of their friends. We work hard to provide representation of the ethnicity and diversity of skin tones in the classroom in age-appropriate children’s books.

We also provide representation in dolls and miniature dramatic play people. Dramatic play is a great way to spark conversations about what is alike or different about the represented ‘toy’. These talks make it easier for children to simplify their play without comparing themselves – a simpler comparison between two objects. This starting place for conversations leads to so many discoveries about themselves and others around them.

“We take care of all of the babies!” 3 year old

We painted wooden peg people for the block area in our classroom. The children choose which color they wanted to paint their person. Such great conversations were happening while painting these figures.

“How come they are all different?” 3 year old

These are lasting conversations that are so meaningful for children to understand that we are all different but in so many ways the same; that what we see on the outside is only one piece of what makes up each person.

“This one like you” 2 year old

“My skin darker than you skin” 2 year old

“Chocolate skin!” 2 1/2 year old

We have introduced magnetic face boards to help spark further conversations about skin tone variations, while also including the work on emotions, facial awareness and features. Toddlers are little people with big emotions. Play gives children a chance to explore and express their emotions and also practice managing them. Offering opportunities to explore emotions in a positive and engaging way supports self-regulation and teaches them to express their own feelings.

“him has a hairy nose” 2 year old

This guy mad!” 2 year old

“This person has curly hair” 3 year old

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