Old Orchard embraces foreign language instruction and teaches Spanish daily in grades JrK-8. At all grade levels Spanish is taught almost exclusively in the Spanish language by native speakers and others with proven fluency in the language. The program stresses language acquisition through conversation, study of the language’s structure and grammar, and study of Spanish-speaking cultures. Every opportunity is made to bring the language to life for students, with cultural activities, class feasts and field trips.
Our younger students begin studying conversationally, building vocabulary and familiarity with common phases through art, games, stories, and simple written exercises. Spanish is taught daily beginning in Kindergarten and continues through eighth grade.
The goal of Spanish at the Lower School is to provide students with the basics of the language and to instill in them a love of and interest in language in general. Spanish classes are active classes: students cook, sing, play games, make videos, and exercise in class in order to truly live the language. Emphasis is placed not just on learning but also using the language. As much as possible, classes are taught in Spanish, and students are expected to respond in Spanish at the level they speak and understand.
Middle School students use a core text, but teachers routinely introduce a wide variety of hands-on activities, projects and outside reading materials to reinforce the students’ more formal study of the language. Our approach is always comprehensive with a focus on reading, writing, listening and speaking, as well as activities and projects centered on Spanish-speaking areas of the world. Graduating 8th graders routinely test into Spanish 2 or 3 honors when entering high school programs.