The foreign language program in Spanish begins in the preschool and continues through the eighth grade year.
We believe learning a second language can increase creativity and flexibility in thinking; studies show language learning also benefits executive functioning skills. Language learning increases openness to other cultures and can contribute to students' eventual participation in a global society. Students of foreign language learn to be comfortable with difference, change, and uncertainty. It can be difficult not understanding exactly what is being said but the experience gives students a chance to puzzle out what could be and demands an ability to imagine what is not yet known.
Singing and playing are integral parts of the Spanish program at TGS, imparting culture, musicality, and joy into the classroom. Young children love to sing, color, dance, and listen to stories, so in all grades, students learn common songs from Spanish-speaking countries, play games, listen to and tell stories about imaginary characters, and join in activities based on these stories.
Each grade revisits vocabulary and expressions annually to assure that students build off of a strong foundation. Greetings, identity, basic verbs, names of animals, the body, our homes, numbers, colors, weather, and much more, make up the vocabulary for younger students. While materials and stories change from grade to grade as children advance, and a smattering of written language begins to appear in the younger grades, the methods of play, music, history, and culture remain as central themes to our curriculum.
Older grades learn about topics corresponding to middle schoolers’ lives, with richer, more abstract vocabulary, and focused grammatical study. Topics include clothing, music, shopping, travel, school vocabulary, and much more. Culturally relevant tools like poetry, movies, and books help connect students with the lives of Hispanic and Latinx people. Students are challenged to speak, write, read, and continuously work on oral comprehension. A variety of learning tools, from books and magazines, to online computer games, to recordings of native speakers, provide constant interaction with the Spanish language, and occasional penpal exchanges inject authentic language use into students’ study of Spanish.
Students leave The Grammar School with a strong foundation in the language and with great enthusiasm and joy for continuing to learn Spanish and other languages.