Presidio Hill School begins teaching Spanish in third grade. The program is an engaging one, with students participating in creative hands-on projects and activities that develop language skills and equip students with useful, lifelong language-acquisition strategies.
The objectives are to develop, reinforce and refine communicative competency in listening, speaking, reading, writing and culture. Through an inductive approach, students gain an intuitive understanding of how the language is acquired and how they can use this knowledge to express themselves linguistically.
Differentiation of language instruction takes place by adapting the contents and techniques to the differing abilities and needs of the students. The various methodologies employed take into consideration different learning styles. Among the methodologies incorporated are the Natural Approach, Total Physical Response (TPR) and Teaching Proficiency Through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS). These methods presuppose that world language instruction should meet students' communicative needs. Students begin by acquiring the vocabulary, phrases, structures, and eventually the grammatical and written skills appropriate and useful for their everyday environment.
Spanish at Presidio Hill is an integrated experience drawing on students' art and drama abilities as well as writing, speaking and presentational skills. For example, students will read and listen to a book in Spanish and, using the target vocabulary they have learned and utilizing TPR techniques, write their own story using TPR Storytelling. Students bring their story's characters to life by drawing or modeling them in clay or other materials. Finally, students give a dramatic presentation of their story and receive a review of their work from their classmates.
Fifth grade Spanish is taught completely in Spanish, becoming the first full year of Spanish immersion. Students learn how to communicate in class using the target language from day one. They are encouraged to speak Spanish with teachers and with classmates.