Foreign language study at Stevens is well-rounded and comprehensive. It is designed to enhance students’ understanding of a global society, gain proficiency in reading, writing and conversing in a second language and develop critical thinking skills. The school’s world languages program includes:
PreK-4th grade: Spanish
5th grade: Spanish or Mandarin Chinese
6th-8th grade: Continue Spanish or Mandarin Chinese; all students study Latin
In the Lower School, students study Spanish. The goal in PreK and Kindergarten is to foster a foundational appreciation and curiosity for learning Spanish. Students develop new vocabulary through engaging activities such as: songs, games, dramatic play, video books and hands-on projects that are meaningful for language learning because it is related to their classroom routines, school, subject studies and interests (one Kindergarten class wanted to learn how to sing “Happy Birthday” in Spanish). Students begin simple conversations in PreK and Kindergarten which expands to more complex grammar and vocabulary in 1st and 2nd grade.
Cultural appreciation for Spanish is emphasized in Lower School through a study of places where Spanish is spoken as well as music, movement, art and cultural celebrations.
In Intermediate School, greater proficiency develops as 3rd and 4th graders speak, listen, read and write in Spanish. Students also role-play, sing and do other class activities in Spanish; this prepares them for foreign language immersion in Middle School.
For native Spanish speaking students with advanced skills, Stevens develops individualized plans and goals. That could mean native speakers strengthen their own proficiency by becoming peer leaders in Spanish class or receive independent assignments that supplement classroom learning.
In Middle School, students have the option to continue in Spanish or study Mandarin Chinese. Instruction as well as the amount of class time conducted in the second language progressively increases from 5th to 8th grade.
All 8th graders have the opportunity to participate in our Mexico cultural exchange program. Expectations for comprehension and fluency during this exchange are tailored to students’ world language course of study.
Students who study Mandarin test their conversational skills by Skyping with peers in China.
In 6th to 8th grade, all students study Latin to improve and develop their understanding of grammar, roots of English words and become familiar with the linguistically historical foundations of Western civilization.