The 4-5s’ Spanish program aims to introduce children to Spanish and to help them grow comfortable hearing the language in many different contexts. Through songs, games, math and art work, we will focus on listening and beginning to physically respond to simple commands in Spanish. The children practice speaking simple phrases in Spanish and using them in meaningful ways as they greet each other or travel down to the kitchen to ask for more food, proudly saying “Quiero más arroz por favor.” MariaTere Tapias comes to our class every Friday to work with the children in half groups.
Spanish is incorporated into our classroom environment and daily routines. There are two structured periods each week that focus on Spanish with our Lower School Spanish teacher, Maria Tere. The students continue to grow comfortable listening to Spanish and responding to instructions and questions as we reinforce what some children learned in the 4-5s. We introduce children new to the school to these concepts, then work forward to expand on this base knowledge. The 5-6s will learn simple songs, rhymes, games, and stories from Spanish-speaking countries.
As the 6-7s continue to grow comfortable listening and physically responding to Spanish, a major goal for this year’s program is to begin to encourage single word responses to classroom commands and simple questions. We will also focus on beginning to recognize and copy frequently used words in writing. The 6-7s will learn simple rhymes, songs and games, and listen to stories. Our thematic unit revolves around the books Mí día and Caminando, by Christina Emberley. These books connect to the classroom curriculum about the city, neighborhood, and the people who live and work around us. By the end of the year, the 6-7s will be able to use some unconjugated verbs to help them get around the classroom, identify some geometrical shapes, describe places and people in their neighborhood, and describe different modes of transportation in the city.
The 7-8s’ cultural focus is the island of Puerto Rico. Students participate in activities such as mask-making during carnival season, identifying the animals and plants of El Yunque rainforest, working with maps, and listening to traditional folktales. Students begin the year describing themselves and their families. A few weeks later, the interrelated study of seasons, weather and the calendar provides a natural opportunity for students to begin writing about their clothing, taking part in surveys, and expressing their likes and dislikes. In preparation for their first farm trip, the 7-8s will learn about some of the animals and plants that provide us with food at the MCS Farm. Throughout the year, they will be able to respond to an increasing number of commands and questions, communicate in Spanish during Morning Meeting and share their writing with others.
The 8-9s’ Spanish program emphasizes listening comprehension and active spoken participation in familiar activities. The 8-9s will work with cultural artifacts from Spanish-speaking countries, learn traditional rhymes and songs, and read simple stories. Students will explore the idea of culture, and participate in activities such as spinning fiber and working on a backstrap loom, as they explore Mayan weaving traditions. We will focus our unit around several books about weaving, including Angela Weaves a Dream, by Michèle Solá and El Tapiz de Abuela, by Omar S. Castañeda. By the end of the year, the 8-9s are able to: begin to use their growing base of vocabulary to actively participate in familiar activities and to describe thematic topics, begin to use simple commands to direct classmates’ actions, and begin to read and write short sentences about thematic topics.
The 9-10s will work with cultural artifacts from Spanish-speaking countries, learn rhymes, songs, games, listen to simple stories, and participate in cultural activities such as learning about arpilleras from Chile and Perú. By the end of the year, the 9-10s should be able to: talk about and describe South American geography, talk about and describe arpilleras, give commands and respond to instructions, write simple descriptions of arpilleras and the map of South America, and read and write some weather expressions.