Spanish for Kindergarten through 8th grades is communicative-based, starting with an age appropriate mix of high energy activities that build towards focused academic study preparing students for Spanish in high school. In the early years, activities like singing and games led in Spanish, build enthusiasm for language learning. Storytelling and acting are essential in the early years of world language at Friends School of Wilmington. As students interact in the language and as their listening comprehension increases, they begin to produce the language. The familiar routine of Spanish class and initial expectations set in English allow the class to flow smoothly in the target language.
Starting in 3rd grade, students begin to work with the written language, participating in developmentally appropriate reading and writing activities. During these years stories from ConversaBooks are used to supplement reading and writing in a simple and fun way. Middle School students continue the balance of the spoken and written language, always working towards competency in communication. Among other material used for reading practice, students read simplified novels for language learners written by Blaine Ray. In 6th through 8th grades students have weekly homework and learn explicit grammar in transition to high school world language. Students are continuously assessed on participation, listening comprehension, and production of language during activities such as writing and performing skits, playing games, and taking formal tests.
A goal of Spanish class is for students to find opportunities to engage in authentic conversations in the Spanish language. A favorite field trip has been visiting a local Hispanic market where students practice speaking Spanish. At the annual Teatro Picnic, students present Spanish language performances for their peers. And each year, a group of 7th and 8th graders travel to the Dominican Republic to work closely with the Dominican Republic Education and Mentoring (DREAM) Project.