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Tapestry of Diversity: Multicultural Pre-K Art Ideas

written by: Andra Land • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 8/2/2012

Try two pre-K multicultural art ideas with your class that are easy to create. Choose to paint on poster board with culturally meaningful colors to make a traditional African fabric design, or glue a collage that teaches children the order of the colors of the Mexican flag.

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    Giving Kids Access to the Global Village

    Teach your pre kindergarten students about the cultures of the world. Kids growing up today live in a more accessible global village than people of previous generations, and this presents a teaching opportunity to the educators of young children. Give kids the world by presenting pre-K multicultural art lesson ideas that increase their knowledge and heighten their awareness of the differences and similarities that they share with people around the globe. Show them we are all woven together on our planet from different threads, resulting in a beautiful tapestry of diversity.

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    African Kente Cloth Painting

    Children will learn about the meaning of the colors that are used in the traditional Kente Cloth, made and worn for ceremonial occasions by the people of Ghana. People all over the world wear clothing and accessories made from Kente Cloth to show respect for the African culture.

    Cut a 5-inch wide and 30-inch-long strip of white poster board for each child to make a Kente Cloth Painting. Measure and draw lines onto the poster board so that it is divided into six, 5-inch squares. Pass these to the children and show them some picture-book examples of Kente Cloth. Your local children's librarian can help you find books to borrow containing photos.

    Provide each child with five colors of paint. Explain that the different colors have symbolic meanings. Keep your explanation suited to the children's level of understanding. Give them black, blue, red, yellow and green paint. Explain that the black paint symbolizes the African people. Tell them blue is for innocence and red is for life. Explain that yellow is for fortune and that green is for Earth. Give them paint brushes and ask them to make a design in each square--using the colors and thinking about the meanings of each one.

    Ideally, your class should be instructed to fill the squares with geometric shapes to represent Kente Cloth, but the skill-level of four- to five-year-old children may keep them from being able to accomplish this. Go ahead and challenge them to paint rectangles, circles and triangles--some children will do this very well. Don't stress about the paintings that are more swirled together. The paintings will all be beautiful and the lessons they learn about the tradition of Kente Cloth is the real goal.

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    Mexican Flag Collage

    Most of your children will be familiar with the country of Mexico, and in class discussion they may be able to offer quite a bit of knowledge about the United States' southern neighbor. Pre-kindergarteners will be familiar with the red, white and blue of their country's flag, so teach them that Mexico has a recognizable flag as well. Some pre-kindergarten classrooms celebrate Cinco de Mayo along with the more traditional holidays of Northern America. Familiarize your students with the colors of the Mexican flag by making a collage.

    Gather small bits of construction-paper, craft-feathers and beads in the colors of green, white and red. Add any other little, collage-worthy and gluable items you may have in the classroom to three piles of materials, separated by color. Give each child a piece of white construction paper. Lay the paper horizontally and draw two lines on the paper so that it is defined into three sections. Pass glue sticks and let the children glue green items to the far-left section, white objects to the center section and red objects to the far right section.

    As part of the pre-K multicultural art ideas, make use of the library for pictures of the Mexican flag, or ask a class member's family to let you borrow one to show the children. The Mexican flag has a depiction of the country's coat of arms in the center. Keep your project simple by leaving this part off your flags. Explain to your class that the flag collage that they made is missing the coat of arms, but represents the colors of the flag of Mexico.

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    Kinder Art: Multicultural Art: Kente Cloths

    CIA-The World Factbook