The Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Catalina De Luna Garza. A review of the Language Program can be found on our website and specific insights into teaching each grade are found in these letters to the parents.
Dear Fourth Grade Parents,
Fourth grade is a time of change for language teachers. The previous three years are completely oral, and now is the time to move on to writing, reading, and the teaching of grammar. Obviously the oral phase never ends, and from 4th grade on the oral experience expands and is joined by writing and reading. The process is very similar to the way a child learns his/her native language. First they listen, then they imitate, later they read what they have written and in older grades explore the grammar of the language they speak.
In the language class students read by writing the material they have memorized in previous years. By reading material with which they are already familiar orally, they are able to establish a solid basis in their reading. This process facilitates good pronunciation.
Basic grammar rules will be “introduced”, as many of them were acquired unconsciously while learning all those verses, songs and poems in the previous years. We will work differentiating all the pronouns, learning the basic rules of gender and number, and we will start to explore basic conjugation of verbs.
As stated before the oral phase never ends. Recitation in this year is powerful, repetitive, and if possible should have a lot of alliteration.
The class has a similar rhythm to main lesson. We begin with a rhythmical part, where we do verses, poems, songs, and speech exercises accompanied by gestures and clapping games. This lasts around 10 minutes. (the material is repeated for a period of 4 to 6 weeks). Then comes the feeling/listening part of the lesson, where material is reviewed and new content is brought to the students through different activities. Reading out loud chorally and then individually will be done during this part of the lesson, which lasts up to 15 minutes. Finally we have the thinking part, where book work is done. Students will quietly work in their Spanish book for about 15 minutes. At the end we all say a verse together to conclude our lesson.
You can enrich your child’s Spanish experience in many different ways:
- Look for and enjoy Hispanic festivals in town, share the information with other parents (look for Day of the Dead festival in November – a family festival)
- Do not miss the opportunity, but do not push, of finding Spanish around. If you visit a Hispanic restaurant, take a closer look at the menu, they might have a bilingual menu. If you know some Spanish, use it, practice it, be a model for your children. If you see me, greet me in Spanish. Some grocery stores have a Hispanic or international aisle, take a look at the foods they offer, find if they have bilingual labels.
- The most important part of all this is to have a positive and open attitude “open your windows to a new culture”; your children will notice it.
Studying languages is a window into the soul of a culture, into its genius, individuality and musicality. It is well known that learning another language expands one’s thoughts and ability to penetrate the feelings and the soul of the other culture. Through the art of communication we cultivate an interest in others.
If you have any questions or concerns about the Spanish program, please email me.