Teaching Presidents’ Day In a Socially Conscious Way


Presidents’ Day, celebrated every third Monday in February, honors the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, while also providing an opportunity to recognize the contributions of all U.S. presidents. As educators, it is essential to teach students about Presidents’ Day in a way that promotes awareness, understanding, and inclusivity. This article explores approaches to teaching Presidents’ Day in a socially conscious manner.

1. Encourage Critical Thinking

Rather than simply presenting historical facts, encourage students to think critically about the decisions made by various presidents and the impact they had on society. By fostering open discussions and debates, students can appreciate the complexities of leadership while also recognizing that no leader is perfect.

2. Teach from Multiple Perspectives

When talking about presidential histories and achievements, ensure that multiple perspectives are included in your lessons. For example, discuss how presidential decisions affected marginalized groups like women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community. This approach ensures that students understand the multifaceted nature of history and politics.

3. Use Primary Sources

Using primary sources in your lessons enables students to engage with historical events from an authentic perspective. Teach them how to analyze letters, speeches, and other materials written by presidents themselves so they can better understand the motivations, intentions, and actions of these leaders.

4. Discuss the Struggles for Equality

Presidents’ Day presents an opportunity to dive into specific struggles for civil rights throughout United States history. By discussing how different presidents contributed – or didn’t contribute – to progress toward equality for all citizens, students can appreciate the importance of advocacy and awareness.

5. Recognize Diverse Leaders

Highlighting presidents from diverse backgrounds allows students to understand that leadership is not limited to specific races or genders. Emphasize how far our nation has come in embracing diversity within our leadership by highlighting examples such as Barack Obama’s presidency.

6. Incorporate Multimedia

Using a variety of multimedia resources can help bring Presidents’ Day lessons to life while also keeping students engaged. Show documentaries, share excerpts from biographies, and utilize interactive websites to ensure that your teachings resonate with students.

7. Engage in Community Service and Citizenship

Finally, instill the importance of being an active and informed citizen by organizing community service projects or discussing current political issues with students. This will allow them to reflect on how they can contribute positively to society, just as the presidents have done.


To teach Presidents’ Day in a socially conscious way, educators must emphasize critical thinking and inclusivity while presenting historical events and achievements. It is crucial for students to understand the full spectrum of presidential actions, both positive and negative, and recognize the impact they have had on our nation’s progress. By implementing these strategies, you can help create informed citizens who appreciate the importance of diverse leadership and strive for a more inclusive society.