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.
In this resource
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
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
- 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.
- ZERO TO THREE Journal Vol 39 No 3: Identity and Belonging in Early Childhood Settings
Who am I? Where do I fit? These are universal questions central to the experience of being human. It’s not surprising that the roots of identity can be found in early childhood.
- Critical Connections Leaflets
Thirteen leaflets illustrate real life moments shared by caregiver and child that encourage caring, nurturing, and fun. Becoming Me! Becoming We! explores our little one’s sense of identity and belonging.
- Building Relationships and Buffering Toxic Stress: Group-Based Medical Care With Spanish-Speaking Latino Families
Pregnant women and young children who experience toxic stress are at risk for negative health outcomes. The “medical home” is seen as a place to address toxic stress by promoting healthy relationships, but Spanish-speaking Latino families face challenges accessing the medical home while simultaneously confronting unique stressors. This article describes a group model for medical visits during pregnancy and early childhood, an intervention designed to promote relationships and address toxic stress for Spanish-speaking Latino families.
- Historical, Sociopolitical and Mental Health Implications of Forcibly Separations in Young Migrant Latin American Children and Their Families
This article addresses immigration as a psychosocial event and describes the different stages of the immigration process, when immigration becomes traumatic, and how each immigration stage can place vulnerable Latin American families, at high risk for traumatic stress. The authors explore pre-migration experiences and the factors bringing young families to cross the United States– Mexico border. The authors discuss (a) the long- and short- term effects of family separations on young children and their caregivers, and (b) trauma- and diversity -informed interventions targeted at increasing safety, empowerment, and hope.
- Beyond a Haircut, lunch pail, and new shoes: Opening Doors to School Readiness for Latino Children and their Parents
Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors is an evidence-based program developed by and for Latino parents of young children to address opportunity gaps related to young Latino children. The program gives parents the information they need to understand child development and to access needed supports and services that will allow their children to get the best possible start in school. The curriculum includes 10 interactive education sessions for parents that emphasize the importance of the parents’ involvement in their children’s education. Evaluation data reveals significant positive benefits from program participation.
SPANISH VERSION: Más allá de un nuevo Corte de pelo, una lonChera y Zapatos nuevos: Abriendo Puertas a la Preparación Escolar para Niños Latinos y sus Padres