World Language at MSM: Spanish Children 2 years - 2nd grade all have Spanish once a week. Beginning in 3rd grade, language classes are twice a week. This exposure another language is a fun way for children to learn about the world, and also aides in the "wiring" of the brain. Our Spanish teachers are all native speakers.
Pre-Primary and Primary Spanish (2 to 6 year olds)
Young children are curious, eager to learn, engaged and certainly are in a "sensitive period" for the sounds and musical aspects of language. That is why the classes consist of many songs, stories, poems, puppet dialogues, visual material, hands-on materials, and kinesthetic activities.
Students will go through a long period of listening and comprehension of the Spanish language before being able to utter any words. They will communicate verbally when they are ready through developmentally appropriate activities and without any pressure from their teacher.
Usually, the weekly routine includes: greet the puppets, have a short humorous dialogue, do some kinesthetic activities, sing presenting visuals and using gestures, introduce a concept with manipulatives, do a simple game, sing a bit more and read a simple book. After we sing the good-bye song, a child is asked in Spanish to turn off the lights; another to open the door for the class to line up and leave the room. A third child closes the door.
The students learn simple expressions and vocabulary in a context: greetings and goodbyes, saying their names and ages, expressing their mood and saying how they feel (hungry, thirsty, cold, hot), recognizing numbers 0 to 10 and counting up to 20, using simple expressions about the weather, colors, parts of the body, days of the week, clothes, foods, opposites, some animals and their physical description, following commands, and practicing vowel sounds.
Lower Elementary (1st-3rd Year) Spanish
Lower Elementary students are still in a period predominantly interested and attracted to the sounds of language, so the lessons include many songs and dialogues. Students absorb the language by following commands, answering questions, acting, playing games, singing, working in pairs. At this level, students start to follow the instructions and routine of the classes and gradually use the target language to communicate their needs.
To enhance communication, the teacher makes use of activities based on meaningful context. A concrete, multi-sensory approach like visuals, manipulatives, puppets, models, and pictures are presented to the students for them to grasp their meaning.
Third grade students start to practice simple reading, writing and punctuation using the Symtalk method. By the end of the year, they are able to answer simple questions and write short sentences, and their spelling gradually enhances.
Students work on the following: greetings and introductions, describing and asking for objects in the classroom, and discussing the current weather and how he/she feels about it. Students also become familiar with and are able to identify each country that speaks Spanish, speak about the weather patterns in these countries, recognize the seasons in the two hemispheres, and identify the clothes that are suitable to wear in each part of the world. Students learn to express the foods that they like to eat, and become acquainted to Latin food. Students name and describe members of their family, the parts of a house and their school.
Upper Elementary (4th-6th Year) Spanish
At this level, students are able to ask and answer simple questions of studied material and write and read easy subjects. They follow the commands and routine of the class and are able to orally request what they need. Grammar is introduced in a context and integrated as needed for improved communication.
The students continue working with varied activities such as: following commands, singing, listing, matching, classifying, comparing, interviewing, identifying, labeling, asking/answering questions, working in pairs, listening to dialogues, and playing varieties of games.
During the first part of the year the students review and extend knowledge of: commands, greetings, numbers, objects in the classroom, the calendar (dates, months, and holidays), and the weather related to how we feel. The curriculum also reviews asking and answering where one is from, age, name, and interrogative words. New structures and vocabulary are added by learning a bit about the countries that speak Spanish and some cultural differences, identifying parts of the school and places in the city, asking about location and permission to go somewhere in the school, and describing one's own personality and physical attributes. Students learn how to shop as well as how to behave at a restaurant reading the menu, ordering food, and paying the bill.
Students begin to read simple chapter books, and may watch videos in Spanish. The basic vocabulary and structures of the whole curriculum are recycled through the years for better retention.
After completing the full program, the students should be able to:
- Be acquainted with very basic geography, history, art, music, foods, and customs of Spanish speaking countries.
- Have simple and short exchanges about studied topics.
- Understand simple phrases, sentences, and instructions or commands.
- Write short sentences.
- Read and understand very short texts on known material.