OGDEN -- It takes crayons of many different colors to make beautiful pictures.
That's the lesson from the book "The Crayons Box That Talked," which preschoolers listened to on Wednesday as part of a program on celebrating diversity.
Megan Gour, a member of Weber State's Diversity Board, took the book to preschoolers at Weber State's Melba Lerner Children's School, housed in WSU's MacKay Education Building. The 1997 book by Shane DeRolf tells the story of crayons that learn to stop judging each other based on color, and work together for the benefit of all.
The young students then were given a blank page and a single crayon -- Wildcat purple, of course -- to draw a picture. The preschoolers quickly became bored, until they were given complete boxes of crayons to finish their art. The take-home lesson was about the value of diversity, both in friendships and in art.
"It's important to teach diversity to everyone, not just adults and high school students," Gour explained, later. "Children can learn at a small age, and it makes an impact. And hopefully the children will go home and talk about what they learned, and maybe teach their parents.
"The lesson from the book, that crayons of different colors can be friends, is very basic. But it it's a good foundation for when they learn even more," Gour said.
Sherrie West, supervising teacher at the Lerner Children's School, said diversity has been the class focus for the past few weeks.
Hanging on the wall are paper snowflakes, no two the same, West said. Earlier this week the children lay on their stomachs, and put their hands together in a circle, noting that all of them had arms, hands and skin, but no two skin tones were identical.
"We are all unique people with similarities," West said. "We are embracing our similarities and celebrating our differences. The children seem to really understand the concept."
Adrienne Andrews, coordinator of WSU's Center for Diversity & Unity, said she was pleased with the preschooler's enthusiastic response to the workshop.
"I get particularly excited when I see the Diversity Board share a positive message of inclusion," she said. "I really felt the children got that message, and had a good experience. It reaffirms the commitment of the university to unity and diversity at every level."
Andrews said she hopes in the future the board will have opportunities to share the "Talking Crayon Box" workshop in classrooms in the Ogden, Weber, Morgan and Davis school districts.