MARYSVILLE — Some balloons, newspapers, tissue paper and construction paper added up to some family bonding time in school on the afternoon of Wednesday, Feb. 19, as Shoultes Elementary invited its Hispanic families to come make piñatas in the school’s cafeteria gymnasium after classes were out for the day.
Shoultes Elementary Principal Lynn Heimsoth credited Sandra Chavez, the English Language Learner natural helper, with coordinating the communication to the school’s Hispanic families about this event.
“I wanted to get the Hispanic families together here to help them become more part of the school community,” Chavez said. “A traditional activity like piñata-making seemed like the perfect thing to get them excited to do just that.”
Heimsoth echoed Chavez’s assertion that getting Hispanic parents and families more involved in Marysville schools benefits not only the Hispanic students, but also the community as a whole.
“By giving Hispanic families an activity to do together in the school, it gets those parents more engaged in their kids’ schools,” Heimsoth said. “The more engaged those parents are, the better their students will do in school.”
Students and parents started out by layering inflated balloons with papier-mâché shells, courtesy of old copies of The Marysville Glove, after which layers of tissue paper and construction paper were added to give the piñatas color and extra frills like horns.
“From there, we’ll fill the piñata shells with candy,” Heimsoth said. “The Marysville Globe was our sole source of newspapers, the tissue and construction paper came from our school supplies, and I bought all the candy myself,” she laughed.
Of the roughly 40 Hispanic families who were invited, at least half were able to take part, which Heimsoth considers a decent attendance figure.
Julieta Montes is a new Shoultes Elementary parent this school year, since her son just started kindergarten, but she already knew enough about her new school to agree with its mission and practices.
“It’s very important to get kids involved in activities at school,” Montes said, with Chavez serving as her translator. “I feel like we are being noticed through these events. The school is recognizing diversity and taking care of its families.”
“They treat me the same way they would treat anyone else,” said fellow Hispanic mom Lucia Ortiz, also translated by Chavez. “I’m very happy here.”
“We love to have our families come to our school for any reason,” said Heimsoth, who touted Shoultes’ monthly coffees for Hispanic families. “I want them to see this as their school.”