Spanish is offered at The Waldorf School of Atlanta to all students. It is a dynamic program where language is offered through culture, music, games, cuisine, storytelling, crafts, singing, and dancing. From the content of these activities, children absorb the Spanish culture and its passions. As children create their own journals and diccionario, they learn grammar and reinforce their knowledge of the spoken language. Using the unique rhythm of each Latin American country, students learn the geography and history of that region. Throughout the year, students prepare for and celebrate colorful, seasonal fiestas.
At The Waldorf School of Atlanta, we begin simply in grades one through three by immersing the children in the spoken language. In the first three grades, the children are given the sound and feel of the language through verses, songs, and finger plays. Stories and games help the children deepen this experience. In these grades all work is oral, with no reading or writing.
As students enter grade four and are fairly adept at reading and writing English, we introduce the alphabet to them. While visually almost identical to our own alphabet, the foreign alphabet represents very different sound qualities. In order to help the children quickly make the connection between the letters and their sounds, we begin by writing out and reading aloud verses the children learned by heart in previous years. Soon the children are able to read Spanish aloud almost as well as they read English. In grade five, we revisit stories heard aloud in previous grades, in a printed form and begin more focused work with grammar.
The work of the middle school years is a bit more rigorous. We pull the language apart to study its nuances. We make more comparisons to English, discerning both the similarities and differences between the languages.
Catalina De Luna Garza was born to a large family and raised, along with seven siblings, in a small town in Northern Mexico. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Studies from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, an undergraduate diploma from the University of Alabama on Education of the Gifted and Talented, and is currently working on her Master's project to earn her M. Ed. in Waldorf Education from Antioch New England Graduate School. Catalina has been teaching since she was 18 years old in preschool and elementary classes in private schools in Mexico. She attended el Centro Antroposófico de México for her Waldorf teacher training in 2003. At that time, Catalina joined the Waldorf School of San Miguel de Allende, México as a class teacher where she taught for seven years. She relocated from Mexico, with her two daughters, to teach at WSA in 2010. Catalina is passionate about language and poetry, and enjoys being with her family and friends, especially when gathered to cook and share a meal or engage in a deep conversation with a cafecito.