More than 50 Bear Creek Elementary students took a tour of parts of Central Oregon Community College on Dec. 14 as part of a Spanish language immersion program.
The first-graders visited the Multi Cultural Center at the Campus Center as part of their COCC tour.
The teachers had several goals for the class, one of which included letting the children use their Spanish in a setting outside the classroom. Another aspect of the tour, according to Stephanie Montoya, a Bear Creek elementary teacher, was to expose the children to a college setting while studying the culture.
“The children are learning the traditions of ‘Las Posadas,'” Montoya said. “In Mexico, the holiday starts today and goes through December 25. We lucked out on the date.”
The holiday is centered around family activities, Montoya said, and every night is different, and each family has its own traditions.
Among those traditions is breaking a pinata with a stick, which the children participated in at the Campus Center cafeteria. Originally, a pinata was made of clay, said Evelia Sandoval, Latino Programs Coordinator, but today they are typically constructed of paper mache container, and are filled with toys and candy. A pinata is always colorful, she added, and is
usually constructed to look like a star.
Another volunteer at the event was COCC Spanish professor Josh Evans, who read the students a story about the history of the poinsettia.
While the Los Pasadas field trip was designed for the first graders, Sandoval hopes the outing will encourage families to visit COCC. The Latino Club will be sponsoring free family-friendly Spanish movies, starting in January at COCC, and the idea is to accustom families to the college.
“For many families, especially in the Latino community, the idea of going onto a college campus is a little frightening,” Sandoval said. “The films will be an excellent way to get families on campus.”