Our language program in the Weston Elementary Schools is designed to provide young students with access to spoken Spanish for both comprehension and pronunciation, to provide opportunities to use simple vocabulary and sentence patterns in a non-threatening environment, and to introduce them to learning strategies that will help them succeed in the study of languages in the future. Unlike more traditional language instruction for older students, both methods and curricular expectations are predicated on first language acquisition theory. We anticipate that students will spend considerable time during the first few years of instruction amassing receptive language without recognizing that they are doing so. “Conversations” at this level are limited to specific sentence and question patterns, with students substituting a limited number of simple words to create original expression. As is true of babies learning their first language, responding to simple commands, repeating sounds, and naming common items constitute a large part of our expectations for students. We also recognize that, just as babies spend 1-2 years concentrating full time on the task of learning language, our students’ progress will be commensurate with the time spent on the task. No child leaving our program in the elementary years should expect fluency in Spanish based solely on the exposure and practice we offer in one hour a week. Finally, we recognize that many students join our language classes later in the sequence than their peers. For this reason, we have designed a spiraling curriculum in which concepts and vocabulary introduced in earlier lessons are re-introduced and reviewed at many points each year.
Foreign Language Standards, 1-12
Spanish Teacher: Kristen Sheridan