From the moment that a new kindergartner walks through the doors of Hamlin, they will be invited to embark on a journey to explore the language and culture of the Spanish speaking world.
We know that exposing our students to language learning from Day One translates to meaningful life long learning. Our K-8 Spanish program unites the whole school around a common purpose and builds community between grade levels, where Grade 8 students learn from Grade 3 students performing an interdisciplinary play in Spanish, and traditional songs are passed from Lower School up to Middle School. Through this program, students will be able to understand how language, culture, and communities are connected in order to develop awareness and empathy for communities other than their own. Lenses may include history, geography, migration, diaspora, exploration, and regional identity. Beyond the development of the four linguistic skills of listening, reading, speaking, and writing, students are motivated to further deepen their knowledge of Spanish and embrace opportunities to pursue the acquisition of additional languages, becoming multilingual global citizens.
At Hamlin, we measure student progress by the specific proficiency levels laid out by the American Council for Teaching Foreign Language (ACTFL). Students start out in the novice low level and typically end their Grade 8 year producing work in the novice high to intermediate low range. We believe that immersion is the most effective way to learn a second language, and in the Spanish classroom we aim to use the target language as often as possible. We use authentic realia, media, recipes, poetry, children’s games, song lyrics, and videos to inspire authentic, meaningful communication in real world contexts.
Integrating across the curriculum at every grade level promotes high levels of motivation and engagement. On a visit to one of our dynamic interdisciplinary classrooms, you might witness a student creating a digital iBook on the life of a heritage speaker they have interviewed in Spanish, or see them engaged in a collaborative pair sharing activity about the animals found in the Costa Rican rainforest. On their path to proficiency, students are gradually introduced to appropriate, comprehensible input that allows them to produce language creatively and effectively, to communicate personal information, and to build connections across cultures. Teachers aim to cultivate a safe environment where taking risks and making errors are celebrated as opportunities for growth and learning.
Learn more about Grade 7’s Spanish project in collaboration with the
San Francisco Zoo!