We strongly believe that exposure to a secondary language is vitally important to young children for cognitive and social reasons. The pathways for language are built in early childhood and we strengthen those through languages and music. Early and sustained exposure to a second language develops new neural pathways, paving the way for easier acceptance of additional languages and enhanced abilities for linguistic fluency in all language arts.
At Keystone, we expose the children from Preschool through 5th grade to Español through music, games, and cultural stories to enhance curiosity, fluency of thought, and respect and understanding of diversity. Our Maestra de Español, Liz Ramos, visits every classroom weekly, bringing developmentally appropriate lessons to engage with students and pique their interest. Students will practice conversational skills, vocabulary, knowledge of the Spanish alphabet, numbers, spelling, reading, and writing. Liz also teaches whole school Español once a week during morning music, bringing cultural, historical, and musical lessons of interest to our multi-age group. She focuses from the beginning on modeling correct pronunciation, inflection, and accent, giving the students confidence and enjoyment through conversational Español.
Each classroom teacher also provides age-appropriate basic Español, augmenting the organized lessons. In the younger grades, children practice basic vocabulary, phrases, colors and numbers through song, games, and art. Older grade students also work in a whole-group or individual settings using apps such as Duolingo to practice the spoken and written words, common usage, and translation.
We do not expect our children to be fluent in conversational Spanish when they leave us. Instead, we strive for an invigorated interest and love for all languages and cultures that will inspire them to future enjoyment and study.