Teaching kids about Hispanic Heritage Month is a wonderful way to help them embrace diversity and learn about the rich cultures and contributions of Latin Americans in the United States. In this blog, we’ll explore what Hispanic Heritage Month is and provide tips on celebrating and teaching preschoolers about this important occasion.
What is Hispanic Heritage Month?
Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15 in the United States. During this time, we recognize and celebrate the cultures, histories, and contributions of Latin American citizens, whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America. This observance also commemorates the independence of several Latin American countries.
Originally, Hispanic Heritage Week was established in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson. Later, in 1988, it was expanded to a month-long celebration by President Ronald Reagan. The start date of September 15 coincides with the independence anniversaries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico’s Independence Day falls on September 16, and Chile celebrates its independence on September 18.
How to Explain Hispanic Heritage Month to Preschoolers
Read Books About Hispanic and Latin American History and Culture: Introduce Latin American history and culture through engaging picture books. Consider titles like “Sing with Me: The Story of Selena Quintanilla,” “Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx,” “Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré,” “Alma and How She Got Her Name,” and “Dreamers.” These books provide insights into influential figures and experiences.
How to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
Introduce Spanish Language Lessons: If you’re not already teaching Spanish, Hispanic Heritage Month is a great opportunity to start. If you’re not fluent, various programs and resources can help you teach common words and phrases. Consider incorporating bilingual materials and lessons to expose children to the native language of many Latin American countries.
Play Latin Music: Bring Latin culture to life by playing Latin music in the classroom. Encourage children to dance and move to the rhythms. Many kid-friendly Latin songs are suitable for classroom settings, such as “Mi Cuerpo,” “Oye Como Va,” “Los Pollitos,” and “Turn the Beat Around.”
Hispanic Heritage Month Activities for Preschoolers
By celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in your classroom, you create an inclusive environment where children can explore, appreciate, and respect the diverse backgrounds and cultures that enrich our society.