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. Seventh 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 highlights underlying grammatical structures once students have already developed an intuitive sense of these rules and patterns.

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. Modern language students are expected to communicate in the target language, and 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 in which the languages are spoken.

In all four languages, the 7th and 8th grade program is roughly equivalent to one year of study in an Upper School language course. While most students take the same language from 7th grade on, students may elect to begin any of the four languages at any point in the Upper School.

The extracurricular Spanish Heritage Speakers Club provides an opportunity for students with significant background in the language to converse at an advanced level as well as celebrate Hispanic cultures.