The colors, sights and sounds of Latin America and Spain are all around us this month, as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage! For almost 50 years, the US has observed National Hispanic Heritage Month. This celebration recognizes the historical and cultural contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The 30-day observation incorporates the independence anniversaries of many Latin American countries. Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15, which is Independence Day for Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence later that week, on the 16th and 18th respectively. The period ends just after Columbus Day, also known as “Día de la Raza.”
At Spanish Schoolhouse, this month is a special occasion for teachers and staff to share their cultures. They start by decorating the schools with items from their home countries, creating some very interesting displays and a festive atmosphere. On “Periquito Azul” days during this month, the children love joining our mascot on a journey around the Spanish-speaking world! Teachers and students are invited to dress in traditional costumes from Latin countries and they process from classroom to classroom. In each “country” they get to experience lively music, dances, and/or art activities and have their “passports” stamped. What a fun adventure!
The Heritage fun extends to parents and siblings at the International Picnic which is held this time of the year. Families are invited to bring a dish from their heritage. Latin dishes feature prominently, but food of other cultures (and American classics) are always welcomed! The picnics are a chance for families to meet and interact with each other and the staff. Sharing a meal and a little culture helps to build our sense of community.
Hispanic culture, language, and history are woven through our curriculum every day, but we enjoy this opportunity to shine an even brighter spotlight on traditions, music, food, and artifacts of our countries! Here’s a look at some of our 2016 celebrations: