Professional Resource

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Explore stories from early childhood professionals, learn about different cultures, and find resources for modeling inclusiveness to challenge racial stereotypes from the start.

Highlighting Hispanic & Latin American Leaders

In these interviews, Raquel, Luisa and Abel walk us through the intersection of their racial identities and interactions as early childhood professionals.

Raquel Munarriz Diaz, EdD

Dr. Diaz is a ZERO TO THREE Fellow and Senior Partnership Manager for the University of Florida Lastinger Center. Her impressive 32 years in the field spans many aspects of early childhood education and professional development.

Luisa Soaterna-Castañeda, MPH

As the Director of Program Management and Technology for the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning at ZERO TO THREE, Luisa plays a key role in supporting and developing resources & technology solutions for Head Start and Early Head Start.

Abel Covarrubias, MA

Abel is Founder and CEO of Aprendamos Intervention Team, an organization providing early intervention services in Doña Ana County, New Mexico, and a Board Member of ZERO TO THREE.

About the interviewer: Melissa Flores is currently the Program Coordinator for HealthySteps and has worked for ZERO TO THREE for more than 8 years. She was born and raised in Arlington County, VA, in diverse community with a large Hispanic population. Her great-grandparents migrated to the US in the 1920s from Guanajuato, Mexico. Her father and his siblings were conditioned to hide their cultural identity and therefore did not learn to speak Spanish or embrace the cultural norms of their Mexican heritage. These experiences impacted Melissa greatly and influenced her to learn and embrace her Hispanic background so that she can equip her daughter to not just know and be comfortable with, but to celebrate her roots. Melissa is currently learning Spanish and is teaching her daughter to be bi-lingual. For all of these reasons, she is honored to be recognized as a member of the Hispanic community and have a role in celebrating this significant recognition of Hispanic and Latin American history and culture.

Resources for Parents and Professionals

For Parents

  • Bilingual From Birth
    Learning two languages from birth changes the way a child’s brain is wired—just one of the many gifts that bilingualism offers to young children.
  • Multilingualism Facts
    There are many developmental benefits to learning multiple languages at an early age, such as improved executive functioning skills—the ability to think flexibly, demonstrate self-control, focus attention, and tune out distractions.
  • Using Stories to Nurture Identity
    What do young children understand about their identity? How can parents help them construct a positive self-identity? Read for tips and tools.
  • Who Am I? Sharing Picture Books that Nurture Positive Self-Identity
    Stories that represent their own experiences. These read-aloud favorites tell children that their lives are worthy of being thought about, discussed and celebrated.

For Professionals