Spanish K-6 - Amie Chamberlain
Friday, October 31, 2014
About the PCS Spanish Program
 
Parkview Center School's K-6 Spanish Program
 
When Parkview began as an alternative school in 1989, the staff and parents believed strongly in the importance of early language learning as a part of the school's foundation. Several languages were taught on a rotating basis: Spanish, French, Chinese, and American Sign Language. In order to gain more depth in a specific language and culture, the school decided to retain Spanish as the language of instruction for students. We do not have an art specialist, but classes do have art.

Each school in the district is given a specific staffing allocation for specialists based on the total student enrollment. This determines the amount of time students have Spanish each week in the K-6 Spanish program. Yet, we continue to seek more effective ways of "doing the best we can with what we have".
The Parkview Center School kindergarten through sixth grade Spanish Culture and Language program is an exploratory language program that focuses on the American Council of Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) philosophy:

  "Language and communication are at the heart of the human experience. The United States must educate students who are linguistically and culturally equipped to communicate successfully in a pluralistic American society and abroad."

Using the national Standards for Foreign Language Learning developed by ACTFL, Spanish classroom learning environment designed to introduce students to Spanish includes visual, auditory, and kinesthetic modes of engagement.

Kindergarten (all day) students have Spanish for 30 minutes, twice a week. Students in grades 1 through 6 have Spanish once a week for 45 minutes. During class, they learn foundational Spanish vocabulary and phrases through a variety of methodologies including visual cue cards, stories, songs, games, TPR (Total Physical Response), TPRS (Teaching Spanish through Reading and Speaking) as well as large and small group activities. Technology is also an integral means of student engagement and active learning with both culture and language. The class also emphasizes developing an understanding and appreciation for Spanish speaking peoples and their cultures.

The amount of time given to Spanish each week directly affects the amount of "proficiency" or "early language production" a student achieves. For "speech emergence" to occur, a program that meets three or more times a week is optimal for a total of 90 minutes of consective sequential instruction. Yet, it still takes several years for "fluency" to occur without total immersion (living in a foreign country for at least 2 years and interacting with people in the language) For a more detailed description of the stages in second language acquisition, see the K-6 Spanish website.

I hope this answers some of the questions you have about the Spanish program at Parkview. Feel free to contact me with any other questions you may have. Please check out the K-6 Spanish website for extra Spanish information, games, and resources throughout the year.

Amie Chamberlain, K-6 Spanish