Classical and Modern Languages

Students in 5th and 6th grade take a two-year sequence of either Chinese or Spanish, and in 7th and 8th grade, they choose one of four languages. Those 7th graders with previous experience may continue with Spanish or Chinese, or they may choose to begin Latin or French. The program promotes using language in meaningful and expressive ways, and it highlights underlying grammatical structures once students have already developed an intuitive sense of these rules and patterns. Students who are new to Middle School grades may be asked to take a placement test, depending on their grade and language of choice, so that the School can best place them in the appropriate class.

Latin students learn to write simple sentences in Latin and to translate more complex structures into English while expanding their knowledge of both Latin and English vocabulary. Teachers expect modern-language students to communicate in the target language. Chinese students also learn character writing. Assessments incorporate listening comprehension, oral and written components, as well as projects, skits, and presentations. The curriculum also emphasizes the cultures and geography of the countries where the languages are spoken. The majority of Middle School students continue to study the same language in Upper School and beyond.