Top 3 Ways to Teach Children Tolerance

When it comes to teaching kids tolerance, here at the Joan Trumpauer Mulholland Foundation, we believe in an honest approach. It is easy to feel shame about where out country has been and how far we have to go. This can often cause teachers and parents to shy away from the hard stories in history. Admitting our country have a long history of lynching, segregation and downright abuse is hard. Those places in our history are dark and don’t seem to match up with American pride that in ingrained in our schools and communities. However, the best way to create a new generation is to be honest about our past. We can find pride in progress, not just history. Here are 3 ways to teach tolerance.

Ruby Bridges, leaving school, escorted by U.S. Marshals.

Use Stories About Children. One of most striking images from the Civil Rights Movement is that of a little girl named Ruby Bridges being escorted to her kindergarten class by federal marshals. Ruby’s story is one that not many educators can talk about without getting emotional. Ruby was the first student to desegregate William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans in 1960. There were threats of violence against her so she had to be escorted to school to ensure her safety. This is great story to teach children because they can put themselves in Ruby’s position and feel empathy. And empathy is the first step to tolerance.

Explain The Background Of Current Events Or Movements. Kids don’t have to look far to see what the latest media storms are.. Often, we only see the result of a major news event and the public’s reaction to it. For example, do you know the background of the Black Lives Movement? Do you know the story of what sparked a nationwide movement? Instead of children only seeing inflammatory news media stories, teach them the stories behind them. Give them a step-up in the game by giving them knowledge. Knowledge is key in understanding people and being tolerant.


Joan greeting a student.

Go To The Source. We have an advantage here at the Joan Trumpauer Mulholland Foundation. And that advantage is Joan herself. When you tap into the resources of the JTM Foundation, you will get to enjoy our vast amount of media and curriculum materials. What better way to teach history than hearing it from people that were there? In our materials, Joan explains the fear of sitting at the lunch counter at Woolworth’s. She remembers how the hatred in that store was so thick you could feel it. The legacy Joan leaves is one of honesty and truth. And truth and tolerance go hand in hand.


Let us help you in your quest to teach the next generation how to be tolerant and kind. Our passion is ending hatred through education and we can’t wait to help you in your classroom.