Inner City-Inner Child (ICIC) wishes you a happy August! We hope you and your child have had two months of fun reading Skip through the Seasons and Bear on a Bike, which we covered in our June 2018 [hyperlink] and July 2018 [hyperlink] blogs. We end our summer reading guide on a love note: this month’s selection is One Love, adapted by Cedella Marley and beautifully illustrated Vanessa Brantley-Newton. And if you haven’t already figured it out, yes, it’s that Marley. Cedella is the daughter of the legendary singer Bob Marley, and the book is based on his world-famous song, “One Love.”
One Love is a joyful and optimistic book that will give your child a deeper understanding of what love looks and feels like. It begins with the familiar refrain from the Bob Marley song (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right”) and threads it throughout the book. The book shows young readers examples of different forms of love, such as love among family members, love for the Earth (including its rivers, flowers, trees, and bees), and love among members of a community. It also conveys a larger message about the important role that everyone can play in sharing love that rises above race, age, gender, and other differences.
At ICIC, we use One Love in all of our programs. It is the centerpiece of a Dancing With Books classroom residency theme that we have given the same name: “One Love.” We also use it in our Naptime U. professional development workshops and in our Read With Me family literacy program. We make One Love leap off the page for young children through original music we created based on the words in the book, African drumming, and extensive use of meaningful gestures to build their knowledge of key words in the book.
In each of our programs, One Love is one of many components (including other songs and dances from around the world and multi-cultural books) that we use to develop children’s awareness of global cultures and diversity. We also use One Love’s message of love, compassion, and humanity to support children’s social-emotional skills and build community. Toward that end, we have developed a Read With Me workshop entitled “One Love: Creating Family Connection with World Music” that is designed to create a joyful family experience around world music and literacy. At a recent workshop in Anacostia, for example, ICIC brought toddlers, preschool children, older siblings, and their parents together in a vibrant celebration of music, drumming, movement, and meaningful gestures, all focused on One Love and other picture books.
To experience the power of One Love with your child this summer, try these activities:
· Read. Research has made clear that reading with your child is an effective way to help your child develop literacy skills. Make it a regular practice to set aside time to sit down with the early learners in your home and read together. No matter what your reading level or your child’s is, there are abundant social-emotional and learning benefits to doing so. You can read to your child, have your child read to you, or make up a story together based on the pictures.
· Visit. Help your child discover how many of the elements of One Love are in your neighborhood. Explore your neighborhood or city together, looking for real world examples of families, flowers, trees, rivers—and, most importantly, people building a better world together. Take One Love and other books with you when you go.
· Love. Support your child’s discovery and understanding of what love means to her or him. What does love look and feel like in your home? Does it involve laughing, singing, or playing together? Does it mean showing kindness to a sibling? What are your child’s favorite ways to express and receive love? Are those ways the same for all members of your family or are there differences? What does it mean to have love for one’s community or the Earth?
· Sing, dance, and drum. ICIC uses original music and lots of expressive, meaningful gestures when we present our One Love residency in classrooms that participate in our Dancing With Books program. We make a heart symbol with our hands when we sing “one love,” put our hands over our heart when we sing “one heart,” pretend to stir a big pot when we sing “let’s get together,” then flutter our hands happily at our sides when we sing “feel all right.” At other points during the song, we move our arms like flowing rivers, use our fingers to pretend to sniff fragrant flowers, and bend our arms up from our elbows to represent trees. We do all of this against the rhythmic backdrop of an African drum. You can have the same fun at home with your child by making up your own song and meaningful gestures, and tapping on any safe, hard, safe surface to create a drum backdrop.
· Make. To cap off your adventure of love and literacy, have your child create an original picture book based on the understanding of love that your child expresses in the “Love” activity described above .You only need simple materials like scrap paper, crayons or markers, and a stapler. Let your child draw the pictures freely without, any criticisms or corrections. You can let your child write the words, let your child dictate them to you, or do a combination of both.
An Invitation to You
A blog can never fully express the feeling of love and belonging that children experience when they participate in Inner City-Inner Child’s arts-based literacy programs. To learn more about how to support our work, we invite you to watch our video and click here. From ICIC to you and your child, one love!
For more than two decades, Inner City-Inner Child (ICIC) has supported early childhood education in Washington, DC through arts education programs and early childhood development training. We provide quality arts integration and early childhood development programs that serve low-income families in DC. ICIC also provides arts-focused professional development programs for teachers who work in early childhood centers and school-based early childhood education programs in DC. In addition, we engage low-income DC parents in child development activities that help them create learning experiences at home.