September 15th – October15, 2022
“Hispanic heritage holds an indelible place in the heart and soul of our Nation, and National Hispanic Heritage Month reminds us that the American identity is a fabric of diverse traditions and stories woven together. Since the beginning, our country has drawn strength and insights from Hispanic writers, scientists, soldiers, doctors, entrepreneurs, academics, and leaders in labor and government. Our culture has been enriched by the rhythms, art, literature, and creativity of Hispanic peoples. And our deepest values have been informed by the love of family and faith that is at the core of so many Hispanic communities. All these contributions help us realize the promise of America for all Americans (Biden, Joseph, 2022).
The Association Montessori International/USA (AMI/USA) values the lives, lived experiences, contributions, and talents of our Hispanic colleagues with whom we work and the families and children we serve.
The U.S. Hispanic population reached 62.6 million in July 2021, the United States Census Bureau reports. Americans of Mexican origin account for nearly 62 percent (37.2 million people) of the nation’s overall Hispanic population as of 2019, per Pew Research Center. The second largest group are Americans of Puerto Rican origin with 5.8 million people. Another 3.3 million people live on Puerto Rico as of 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Americans with origins in Cuba, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Colombia, and Honduras each have a population of roughly one million or more.
Hispanic-identifying people make up the nation’s largest racial or ethnic minority at 18.9 percent. To appreciate the vibrancy of the growing Hispanic population in the United States, and their community influence, it would serve us well to guide learning about the geography, culture, music, food, and daily life of Hispanic Americans within our homes and classroom spaces. As we make lesson plans and create culturally relevant prepared environments, it is a great time to pay homage to those who identify as Hispanic-Americans beyond thirty days.
Expand the musical genres and styles that we offer children. Amplify what the children hear. Explore varying types of music, including Hispanic instruments and rhythms. Dialogue about all aspects of the music, musicians, artists, and embarking on research to learn more about the universal language of song are great follow-up activities.
Foods, cooking practices, and celebration are an aspect of one’s culture that brings history to everyday life.
Another way to embark on and continue the celebration is to highlight books, artwork, or images that you are offering your students. During National Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond, we are challenged to intentionally center humanity over accomplishments. This means we are moving at a slower pace as we learn more through conversations, art, books, and documentaries. It could also mean we are extending our imagination beyond highlighting culture primarily through curated booklists. As guides to the children in our lives, we want to create as Dr. Rudine Bishop Sims would say, “mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors.” We want to create “mirrors” – a situation in which people of the global majority are represented as citizens that constantly relive historical references that depict tragedy. Children should see themselves, and those of their communities, as people living full lives. “Windows” allow the reader to imagine and visualize the lives of someone else. Lastly, “sliding doors”— give the children an opportunity to step into the world created by the author (Reading is Fundamental).
As important as the prepared environment and lesson planning, invite Hispanic-Americans into your classrooms to tell their stories about life in their home, our common communities, and our nation. If possible, share time in spaces such as museums, at festivals, and during celebrations outside of the four walls of the school.
Biden, Joseph. A Proclamation on National Hispanic Heritage Month, 2022. (2022, September 14). Retrieved from: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2022/09/14/a-proclamation-on-national-hispanic-heritage-month-2022/ on September 14, 2022
Reading is Fundamental. (2022, January). Retrieved from: https://scenicregional.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Mirrors-Windows-and-Sliding-Glass-Doors.pdf, June 9, 2022
This acknowledgement and celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, 2022 this is based on the writing contributions of guest writer, Ashley Causey-Golden. Her work is grounded in a liberatory, anti-bias and anti-racist framework. Ashley holds a Bachelor of Science, Elementary Education and Learning Disabilities and Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities from Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC and a Master of Arts, Sociology, and Education from Columbia University’s Teachers College, New York, NY.
Look for the work of Hispanic guest writers on this platform as they share what the month means to them, and their work, based on their lived experiences and knowledge as Montessori educators.