The world language program develops general language skills, intellectual discipline, and the vocabulary, grammar, and basics that allow students to continue language studies at an advanced level in high school. We support the development of our students as citizens in the diverse community of Belmont Day and in the world. Exposure to broad cultural experiences nurture curiosity and joy.
In the fall the fifth grade program focuses on broad questions: What is language? How is language acquired? How does language evolve? Who makes up the rules for language? We then move on to the origins of English and study the Indo-European family of languages. In the winter we learn about the history of English, including Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English, and Late Modern English. Class activities include slide presentations, video clips, lively discussions, and group activities, such as making a language tree and acting out the Battle of Hastings. Students also learn about the history of French and Spanish. We close the course with a short unit on introductory Latin.
In April, students choose French, Spanish, or Latin as their middle school language and begin formal study. The focus is on listening and speaking skills. Topics include conversational questions and answers about names, ages, emotions, where we live, and what we like. We learn vocabulary for sports, other hobbies, and foods. Students take part actively in class every day. They create short prepared oral presentations and are introduced to basic information about many French and Spanish speaking countries.
Our students will:
- be able to engage in meaningful discussion about the topics related to the question: what is language?
- have a basic understanding of how and why language evolves
- demonstrate a general understanding of the history of English, French, and Spanish
- grasp how English, French, Spanish, and Latin relate to each other as Indo-European languages
- demonstrate appreciation for basic Latin vocabulary
- develop basic communication skills in either French or Spanish
- practice conversation with the correct pronunciation
- be posed for success in the sixth to eighth grade language program