IMG_1939At Willow School, the study of Spanish as a second language is taught to the students in the Lower School and recently introduced to the sixth grade class. The Spanish language program focuses on the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Beginning in kindergarten, students are introduced to the language through music, rhymes, songs, stories, poetry, role-playing, and movement. In addition, the teacher draws upon familiar story books, which she reads to the children in both Spanish and English, until they become familiar enough with the Spanish words to understand. The use of puppets and stuffed animals to role play is also important in helping children to acquire a foreign language at this age. Classes are conducted primarily in Spanish to immerse the students in the language. In second grade students begin to learn the basic rules of grammar and spelling. As the students advance, their writing and grammar skills are refined, and the develop a more extensive vocabulary. There is an increased focus on the exploration of the culture and history of South America and Spain, creating an appreciation for the Hispanic culture within each child and expanding their worldview.