Lower School students explore the legacy of Dr. King and consider what it means to be a change-maker

Lower School students at King School learned about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the long-lasting implications of his lifelong work toward justice and equality.

"We used Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an opportunity to build background knowledge for students specifically about Dr. King, his work, and the work that modern change-makers are doing to ensure that our world continues to evolve in a positive direction, acknowledging and discussing the work that still needs to be done," said Cara Grimaldi, Lower School Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator.

Students tackled questions such as, "What does it mean to be a change-maker?" and "What kind of change-maker do you strive to be?"

Grade 3 students, for example, are learning "How one voice can change a community," as part of the social studies curricular theme. Part of this work highlights stories of everyday people and famous figures who have become agents of political, environmental, and societal change.

Inspired by Dr. King's work, Grade 3 faculty members Ellen Eagleton and Matthew Cleary encouraged their students to find their own voices. "Words can be powerful tools for change," Ms. Eagleton says.

The students also read the book Martin's Big Words, written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Bryan Collier, and brainstormed one singular word that would become their inspiration as an agent of change.

"Our students come alive as they listen to each unique story. Sometimes anger and confusion are shown when an injustice takes place and those feelings create meaningful discussions. Although they have hope for a brighter tomorrow, students are aware that there is still work to be done. Because of this awareness, they have the potential to become change-makers themselves," added Ms. Eagleton.

The exploration of Dr. King's work is part of a broader effort to deliver a lower school curriculum that fosters racial literacy and cross-cultural competence among King students.

"Through our work with the Pollyanna Racial Literacy Curriculum, Lower School teachers are committed to implementing a multicultural curriculum that allows students to dig deep into what it means to be a change-maker," added Ms. Grimaldi.