First Day of School is August 19
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The Spanish Language program at Arbor is a pilot program that seeks to develop a long and continuous sequence for language learning. Following the Department of Education standards, our program is tailored to the unique environment of the Montessori classroom, thereby increasing the opportunities for the language to be taught in the context of the child’s everyday experiences. For the children in the classroom, Spanish is viewed as one more learning experience offered (rather than imposed) in ways that will attract children’s natural interest and engage their responses.
It is important to note that Arbor’s Spanish language program is based on a "content-enriched" model used in many elementary schools. This method adapts subject content from the regular school curriculum. This approach has been shown to help increase the degree of proficiency because language is taught in the context of everyday experience. However, this model does not create fluent speakers. The only programs that can produce truly bilingual speakers are known as "immersion programs" where 50% to 100% of total school time is spent in foreign language.
Maria Montessori’s term "sowing the seeds of interest" could well be used to describe the overall goal for the primary language program. This means creating enjoyment, awareness, and an eagerness to learn more. The primary program focuses on developing listening and speaking skills. Early exposure to other languages creates a facility for understanding and speaking, as well as greater ease in later study. It also creates an early consciousness of culture - the richness of our many ways of being human.
This program continues the listening and speaking sequence established at the primary level. In addition, it strives to incorporate reading and writing skills. By the end of the lower elementary experience, the vocabulary that has been introduced expands into more thematic units such as how we are unique, healthy eating, or taking care of pets.
The upper elementary program continues to focus on language for communication. Although grammar is never taught in isolation, students are introduced to more complex language structures, which prepare them for middle and high school language programs. Thematic units are again expanded into culminating projects that take several weeks to complete such as giant personal time lines, market place re-enactments, TV weather reports, etc.