The Spanish program at KCDS prepares students to become highly proficient Spanish speakers. Along with acquiring this additional language, students’ exposure to the rich culture of Spanish speaking countries arms them with important 21st Century skills necessary in our global society. Students work their way up the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) pyramid from the Novice level of proficiency in Kindergarten in which simple words and phrases are reinforced daily to the level of Advanced proficiency by eighth grade. When students exit KCDS in 8th grade, they will have completed high school Spanish, allowing them to place into a higher level of Spanish in their chosen high school. This all begins in the lower school with interactive activities, daily immersion and a well-planned curriculum.
Time and Intensity
Time and intensity are the two primary factors that determine the outcome of language proficiency. Students at KCDS experience both time and intensity in Spanish. Below is the time allotment for each grade level. Class is conducted inSpanish for maximum exposure to the language.
Grade Frequency of Spanish
- K-4th grades 30 minutes 4 times a week
- 5th grade 30 minutes 5 times a week
Research shows that students in elementary language programs can expect the best outcomes of language proficiency when they receive at least 90 minutes per week of instruction in the foreign language. KCDS students surpass that standard and receive 120 minutes of instruction per week in K-4 and 150 minutes per week in 5th grade.
The 5 C’s of Language Acquisition
Our program incorporates the 5 Cs of language learning.
- Culture: We study the many countries where Spanish is spoken and immerse ourselves in their culture as we digitally travel around the globe.
- Comparisons: The study of another language leads to critical thinking skills. The goal is to enhance the ability to analyze, compare and contrast and examine cultures through a language and perspective other than one’s own.
- Connections: We connect with people and resources from cultures across the globe through language experiences via technology. We also connect what is learned in the regular classroom with that which is learned in Spanish class.
- Communities: Examining communities helps to unlock and broaden students’ views of their world and that of other cultures.
- Communication: We achieve all of the 5 Cs through authentic communication in Spanish. Communication is at the heart of all language experiences. Students are required to use the language and not just know about the language.
Preschool through Third Grade
In Spanish class, we approach different vocabulary sets in different ways with different expectations. Often, students start by simply recognizing and responding to new words. Next, they can begin to provide the words independently within an appropriate conversational context. This transition happens naturally as our curriculum spirals and builds on previous learning from each grade level.
Students review what they learn and acquire more vocabulary to support a theme. Students’ speaking skills are refined as they practice in different contexts and with additional words. They become more adept at seeking patterns and are better able to compare and contrast Spanish and English. Students are increasingly able to associate sounds with written symbols in both languages.