Modern and Classical Languages
The Middle School language program is a three-year experience introducing students to the fundamentals of language acquisition and the linguistic elements of the target language. All students take a full year of Latin, and then two years of a language selected from our four offerings: French, Latin, Mandarin, or Spanish.
Because Latin is fundamental to language study, this is how we begin. In Introduction to Latin & Language Learning, students learn to understand the common elements of Spanish, French, and English. Coursework covers Latin vocabulary and grammar with emphasis on elements also reflected in the English curriculum. We explore these concepts through rich discussions about Roman culture including transportation, city life, society, gladiators, and slavery. While the immediate goal of this introductory course is to achieve reading ability in Latin, the ultimate objective is to improve students’ ability to acquire any foreign language—ancient or modern.
The language students choose for their seventh grade year—French, Latin, Mandarin, or Spanish—carries through into eighth grade. In order to offer this wide of a range of languages, enrollment in all sections is co-educational. These Level A courses emphasize self-expression and cultural insight through the reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills of the target language. Course content relies heavily on cultural studies and traditions.
Level B courses in French, Latin, Mandarin, and Spanish continue the emphasis on reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills as both the pace and expected proficiency increase. Students pursue deeper and richer study of the history, culture, and traditions of native speakers. By the end of their two-year language experience, successful students are ready to place into Upper School French 2, Latin 2, Mandarin 2, or Spanish 2 courses. New students admitted to the eighth grade have the opportunity to test into the language of their choice at the start of the school year. Seventh grade Level A courses will be available to any student needing them.