Maestra Alison » Lexington's Spanish Program

Lexington's Spanish Program

“To succeed in the twenty-first century, today’s students need to develop academic knowledge, proficiency in English, and linguistic and cultural literacy in several of the world’s languages and cultures. The ability to communicate in culturally appropriate ways in a variety of settings will ensure success in a technologically driven global economy……Success in an interconnected world depends on students’ effective use of language and cross-cultural communication skills.” (CA Dept of Ed. Standards for World Language, pg. vi)

Welcome to the Lexington School Spanish Program! At Lexington, we recognize, celebrate, and value all home languages. As an International Baccalaureate school, we are also required to teach a second language. California is third in the country for having the most Spanish speaking individuals and Spanish is the fourth most commonly spoken language in the world. Therefore, we believe it is important our students leave Lexington familiar with Spanish and appreciate the cultures that speak it.

Our goal is to expose all students to Spanish whether they are beginners or advanced speakers at least twice a week. Students explore the language and cultures that use Spanish. Through our Spanish program, we strive to instill an appreciation for learning languages so that students will continue to seek out and learn ANY new languages in the future.

For those who already speak Spanish, time during the school day exposed to Spanish, along with opportunities to practice their advanced language skills throughout the year through peer teaching during class, class and whole school events, and individual projects with parent support, benefit these students as well. Read more about how we support advanced speakers here.

All students will practice Spanish through listening, speaking, singing, reading and writing, and gain an awareness and appreciation of other cultures in order to better participate in an ever-changing global society. 

Students at Lexington currently participate in Spanish study two days a week.
 
T/Kindergarteners: 20 minutes x 2 (40 min/week)
1st graders: 30 minutes x 2 (60 min/week)
2nd - 5th graders: 45 minutes x 2 (90 min/week)
 
Lexington offers an exploratory/exposure Spanish program. In a Foreign Language in the Elementary School program (FLES for short), we follow the California standards for foreign language teaching, incorporating the four modes of communication - listening, speaking, reading and writing. Depending on the grade level, students receive Spanish instruction between 40 minutes and 90 minutes each week.
 
Our total minutes TK-5th in the FLES program is equal to about what a student receives in 2 years at Fisher Middle School or one year in High School. Our entire program, therefore, is "Spanish One" - spread out over six years at our school and with much less homework than the high school. Developmentally appropriate activities for a young child are also different than a High School curriculum. Students will have a good introduction to basic Spanish and Spanish speaking cultures when they leave.  
 
The advantages of beginning language study early is usually the ability to develop a good accent and being less self consciousness about speaking, as compared to older learners. Only an immersion program will produce true fluency. Dual immersion programs lead to fluency due to the 3 hours+ students spend immersed in the language each day.
 
We incorporate conjugating verbs and other grammatical points primarily in fifth grade. In the earlier grades we use a more 'Whole Language' approach, as is usual in the lower grades in English. We strive for students to enjoy and value learning languages and other cultures, which is important to becoming a global citizen.
 

The Spanish program at Lexington School is a communication based program (as opposed to a literacy or grammar-based program, as you might find in high school) for the following reasons:

  1. Young children can acquire a good accent during this amount of class time. Vocabulary can be learned later. Verbal accents are best acquired when young.
  2. They are often less inhibited about speaking as compared to adults or adolescents - those beginning a new language in Middle or High School, or later.
  3. A grammar based program is not developmentally appropriate for the primary years (K-2). Grades 3-5 will do more written activities.  
 
It is highly recommended for families to practice schoolwork that has been sent home to help children remember vocabulary and encourage their child to read aloud. Some course content varies year to year due to the units of inquiry, but students will cover at least the following areas in each grade explained in the "TK-5 Program Components".
 
If your child is interested in developing their skills further outside of class with family support, please contact Maestra Alison. We will be offering home language and additional language goal setting opportunities for all families this year as part of our new "Pathway to Multiliteracy" initiative.