The goal of SPA’s K–12 Spanish program is to provide students with proficiency in at least one world language and to instill cultural understanding and appreciation that ultimately will benefit them academically, personally, and professionally.
Our thematic and multidisciplinary program is based on the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning and makes creative use of technology to enhance student learning. In the Lower School, the aim is to introduce and reinforce vocabulary and structures for meaningful communication within Spanish cultural contexts. The Spanish program also complements the homeroom curriculum, providing students with a deeper global and multicultural understanding of world geography as well as opportunities for exchange and immersion experiences. We strive to create an environment where every child is known, nurtured, and feels comfortable communicating in Spanish.
Students in the elementary grades learn by a natural process of listening, comprehending, speaking, reading, and finally writing the language. Children are exposed to oral and written language that the teachers make meaningful by emphasizing context and by extensive use of gestures and visuals. Classes include hands-on activities to encourage students to communicate in Spanish and to constantly improve their proficiency.
Students in kindergarten through second grade meet three days weekly for 30 minutes. Students in grades 3–5 meet twice weekly for 45 minutes. Formal and informal assessments are ongoing, covering the skills developmentally appropriate for each level. At the end of the K–5 sequence, proficiency testing confirms students’ language skills in four key areas: listening, reading comprehension, speaking, and writing.
Highlights for students include:
- Student visitors from the Instituto Colon in Guadalajara, Mexico.
- Artists-in-Residence connections with native Spanish speakers.
- Festival del Pequeño Quijote.
- All-school assembly performances by K–5 Spanish students.
- Pen pals and e-pals in Spanish-speaking countries.
- Concordia Language Villages Spanish immersion weekends.
- Boca Chica field trip in fifth grade.
- Spanish Club.
- Performance-based sharing across levels.