MPFS’ foreign language program develops student appreciation for Spanish cultures and competency in comprehending, speaking and writing in Spanish through immersion-based instruction by native-speaking faculty.
Spanish is taught in all grades, PreK-3 through eighth, incorporating contexts that reflect students’ real life interests and experiences at each age.
Students in PreK-3 through second grade receive 60 minutes of Spanish instruction each week. Beginning in third grade, students delve deeper into Spanish, participating in two 45-minute periods per week before ultimately transitioning to daily classes in sixth grade. By the conclusion of eighth grade, students will have completed high school Spanish I coursework. Some graduates have placed in more advanced Spanish 3 classes in ninth grade.
Instruction includes plenty of visuals and hands-on activities. Concepts are connected so that learning is scaffolded. Within small classes, students have many opportunities to participate and this frequent reinforcement further boosts understanding and retention.
Likewise, instruction is developmentally appropriate: preschoolers learn to count in Spanish as they develop basic number sense in English; first graders simultaneously learn distinct Spanish and English phonemes; fourth graders tackle increasingly challenging vocabulary in Spanish and English; middle school students begin to master conversational Spanish relevant to adolescent interests: “What movies do you like?”, “What is your IM screen name?”, “I like to ski, skateboard and sing.”
A core element throughout the 11-year program is culture. Students learn about the diverse traditions and histories of Spanish and Latin American peoples, explore the geography of Central and South America, emulate the techniques of Hispanic artists, read authentic Latino literature and folktales, and enjoy Hispanic foods. Together with field trips to art museums, performing arts venues and restaurants, as well as alliances with local Spanish-speaking community resources, these experiences help prepare them for citizenship in our increasingly multi-cultural world.