Mexican Parents Value Education
By Jaci Winters
In her book Empowering Spanish Speakers, Dr. Jacqueline Zaleski Mackenzie says, “All of the Mexican parents I interviewed, including the over one-third of them who were unable to read, had a high regard for education.” Parents devote a lot of time, energy, and money to make it possible for their children to attend school. Perhaps this is the reason the free Educational Programs at the Biblioteca are so popular. In conversations, Mexican adults told me they remember with great fondness their time as children spent reading books or attending classes at the Biblioteca.
Education classes are one of the outreach activities provided by the Biblioteca for young Mexicans living in San Miguel and the surrounding area. Every day there are classes in computers, reading, crafts, English, mathematics, choir, guitar, piano, science, and art. Most of these activities are not available as part of the regular school curriculum, but they allow kids to be creative, experiment, and problem solve in a different and supportive environment. When you visit the classes, you see young people involved and enjoying these special experiences and growing as individuals in new ways.
Mexican parents often accompany their children to classes and wait for them in the courtyard, an indication that they see value in their children participating and learning through their participation in the education classes. Very young children have their own Sala Infantil which is filled with suitable books for their age and crayons, etc., in a bright colorful room. Mothers can sit and read books with their kids, too. The Sala Juvenil is set up for reading, lectures, crafts, and research. There are books in Spanish and English, as well as reference books to help with schoolwork. Reading and literacy skills are essential for all children, but books are very expensive for the average family. Two computer rooms are supervised by a teacher who teaches kids how to use computers, preparing them to become global citizens and expand their horizons.
Teachers are full-time or part-time staff and volunteers. Staff are Spanish speakers so they can interact with the young people in their own language. The painting, computer, music, reading, and traditional crafts are taught by the paid Mexican staff. The volunteers provide two to four hours per week of their time and teach English, mathematics, science, and crafts. The Biblioteca Education Program provides the San Miguel community with additional resources to help educate Mexican youth. Presently less than 50% of Mexicans enroll in middle school. Our programs can help change that statistic and the future for young Mexicans.
Your donations for this program make a difference. Please donate today and receive a US, Mexican, or Canadian tax receipt. Canadians go to AmistadCanada.org or Canadahelps.org. Americans and Mexicans go to bibliotecasma.com. Thank you.