Modern Foreign Languages – Spanish
Language learning is a vital skill in today’s world where most jobs require international travel and relations. The asset of knowing a language is huge and speaking the third most spoken language in the world even more so. We have taught Spanish at Provo Primary School for a long time and we are very proud of just how much Spanish our children are speaking, learning, listening to and writing!
How is Spanish Taught at Provo Primary?
Spanish is taught in all classes from Toddlers through to Year 6 at Provo Primary School. Our teaching approach is, of course, adapted to suit the age of the children, with an emphasis on communication throughout.
The introduction of Spanish Immersion has more than doubled children’s exposure to Spanish.
With staffing available to make it happen, we have committed to more than doubling the time children are exposed to Spanish in our school. all children in the school are involved in Spanish immersion programmes, where they will carry out a number of different activities and lessons all in Spanish. This is immensely effective in building children’s recognition and confidence with hearing simple instructions, carrying out tasks and receiving praise. Alongside this, children in Years 1 – 6 are also having at least once weekly independent Spanish lessons, with homework from Years 4-6 up. Altogether, this enables us to expand their vocabulary, speaking and listening/ conversational skills and, with the more advanced children, extend this to reading, grammar and writing.
In the younger years our Spanish lessons are also combined with rotating small group or individual work, allowing the teacher to focus on areas needing extension or consolidation. This also allows for a smaller focused group learning Spanish.
“It’s such a great opportunity to enhance or focus in on individual readers and support children in small groups on target areas” said Miss Claire.
“The children absolutely love it!” Miss Mani quoted.
In accordance with the British National Curriculum guidelines, our primary focus is on ensuring pupils gain confidence in Speaking and Listening in Spanish. This enables all children to access and participate in learning right from the start, helping them to become used to, and confident in using the new sounds and vocabulary quickly. Children learn through games, role plays, speaking projects, songs and cultural studies to gain skills that can be used in real life contexts. New language is presented in many different ways to appeal to all learning styles and to help facilitate recall.
In the younger years, children learn mainly through the use of Spanish in context, as well as games and songs, rather than formal lessons. This approach works in harmony with, and supports the communication and language acquisition skills they are already gaining in English.
The written word is introduced in Year 1 alongside pictures, real objects and other prompts, in order to facilitate vocabulary recall for children who prefer visual cues. However, reading and writing as foreign language skills are introduced very gradually as an aid to pronunciation, spotting and applying patterns, and gaining independence. Using written forms is also extremely valuable when learning and applying grammatical rules in later years.
Grammar is taught in context, rather than discretely as an abstract concept. There is no chanting of verb conjugation tables here! Children will learn to use and apply grammatical rules across a variety of different topics. Using grammatical knowledge as a connecting thread throughout different topics gives children the “building blocks” for language, even when learning brand new vocabulary. This method of learning is much more appropriate and motivating for younger children, as it replicates the way they acquired their first language. They are learning grammar almost without realising it!
We have wide variety of resources that we use to teach Spanish from bilingual books, story bags and songs and games. We have invested in a fantastic multimedia programme for Years 1 – 6 called ‘Early Start Spanish’ and CDS filled with songs to support teachers in reinforcing their classes’ Spanish language in extra 5-10 minute sessions. We also have a new set of 10 Collins Bilingual dictionaries so children build this important skill in language learning too.
Why do we believe it’s so important to introduce Spanish at Provo Primary?
The earlier children learn a foreign language, the more successful and motivated they will be, because their brains are still “plastic” enough to adapt to the learning. At Provo Primary School we make language learning fun and accessible for all children, to help them develop an interest in, an openness to, and enjoyment of language learning that will hopefully continue for life.
We are always looking for more volunteers to support Spanish immersion in the Early Years so please come speak to us if you have good Spanish knowledge and would like to be a part of our burgeoning success in Spanish!
Further information on the topics and learning objectives for each year group is available by following the links below: