As the introductory piece of Seven Hills’ World Language Program, the Lower School Spanish program has three goals:
- to expose students to language development, in the same way they learn their first language; by first listening, then speaking, reading, and writing
- to prepare students to be culturally competent citizens of the world
- to inspire an interest in language acquisition and cultural exploration
Throughout the program, students work on:
- Listening and demonstrating comprehension – both verbally and non-verbally
- Speaking – beginning with simple responses, and increasing in complexity as exposure and comfort increases
- Reading and writing – Increasing in difficulty throughout the year and from one grade to the next, students begin reading short novels intended for beginning Spanish students in grades 4-5.
Lower School Spanish teachers employ a methodology known as Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS), which uses gestures, visuals, context clues, props, and repetition to make all language comprehensible. Students are presented with vocabulary and verb structures within the context of stories, conversations relevant to the students, videos, and readings. Student-created stories and drawings, videos, puppets, songs, games, dance, and technology integration enliven the overall learning experience.
A supportive atmosphere encourages students to participate at their comfort level. With increased exposure to the language, opportunities to communicate, and guided reading and writing activities, their command of Spanish improves. The program focuses on spoken language and music in Kindergarten and 1st grade, and steadily integrates reading and writing into the curriculum for 2nd through 5th grades.
Culturally-related activities enhance language learning and give our students a broader perspective on the people who speak Spanish. In this way, the program supports the school’s mission and invites students to be life-long learners of language and culture.