“Does every child do that? No,” Harvey continued. “But it is neat to see some of them totally engaged in a Spanish book in first grade, plus it makes the other students very curious. … I enjoy seeing the risk-takers trying new things.”
Western School Corp. also launched a foreign language program for fifth graders at the intermediate school this year. Students spend 40 minutes a week in an “intro to language and world cultures” class taught by the school librarian, who is bilingual.
“The plan is to phase that in next year for third, fourth and fifth grade,” said Principal Pat Quillen. “I always felt it was important for students to learn a foreign language at an early age because they can pick it up faster.”
Teaching students Spanish at the intermediate level will better prepare them for foreign language classes in middle school and high school, Quillen said. Early lessons focus on basic vocabulary and conversational uses of Spanish, and teacher Jennifer Fisher is looking forward to making the program more in-depth next year.
“They love it. The kids are ecstatic,” she said. “I’m so happy they are implementing this in our school. The more culturally aware our students are, the more they’ll be prepared for a global economy and a bright future.”
Education reporter Lauren Fitch can be reached at 765-454-8587, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @LaurenBFitch.