Extension Specialist, Family Life Education
Cape Cod Extension
University of Massachusetts
Looking for a Story to tell? Begin by telling what happened not so very
long ago, when the children's parents or family members were about their
One day, a black woman named
Rosa Parks was riding home on a bus after a long day of work. She
was very tired. She got on the bus and sat in a vacant seat.
In those days her city had a special law: if there weren't enough
seats on the bus for white people, black people were supposed to
give up their seats to them. Soon after she got on, the bus seats
were full, and then more people got on. The white people expected
Rosa to get up from her seat.
Rosa didn't think it was fair that the white people expected her to
give up her seat because she was African-American and she didn't
want to be treated unfairly any longer. She said, "No," and wouldn't
give up her seat. Rosa Parks was arrested and put in jail. Many
people heard what happened; some didn't think it was fair. So the
black people in her town said, "We aren't going to ride the bus any
more until the law is changed." For one year they didn't ride the
bus. Finally, the law was changed! Rosa Parks wanted African
Americans to be treated fairly. All across the country, people began
to insist on their civil rights.
Encourage the children to act out
the story. Everyone can be involved. You'll need props such as chairs,
stools, or boxes for bus seats. Children can choose who will be the bus
driver, Rosa Parks, the person who wanted a seat, the police officer,
and other passengers on the bus. Let children direct the action and use
their own words. Props such as bus tickets and shopping bags might be
After the children have finished reenacting what happened, talk about
how each of the people involved probably felt: Rosa Parks, the driver,
the person who wanted Rosa's seat, the police officer. Why did they do
what they did?
Expand children's play if they're interested. You could build on themes
including transportation, women in history, the Civil Rights Movement,
or local, state, and federal laws.
National Network for Child Care - NNCC. Part of CYFERNET, the National
Extension Service Children Youth and Family Educational Research
Network. Permission is granted to reproduce these materials in whole or
in part for educational purposes only(not for profit beyond the cost of
reproduction) provided that the author and Network receive
acknowledgment and this notice is included:
Reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child Care -
(1994). The Rosa Parks story: How one person made a difference. In M.
(Ed.) CareGiver News (December, p.1). Amherst, MA: University of
Massachusetts Cooperative Extension.
Any additions or changes to these materials must be preapproved by the
More: Meet Rosa Parks