The goal of the Spanish curriculum at the Lower School is to expose students in grades pre-kindergarten through fourth to the process of learning a language while becoming more proficient in a language that is more and more prevalent in our country. Twice each week, students receive instruction and exposure to Hispanic culture, language, and history. The curriculum is designed to build upon what was learned in prior years, while still offering review and support, especially for those who are new to the school. Students learn by mastering sets of nouns, such as colors, clothing, food, family members, classroom objects, etc. Those nouns are then used by the students to play games, sing songs, and talk about their environment and themselves. Each grade uses similar categories of vocabulary words to reinforce what has been learned from year to year, but the amount of words increases as students get older. In second, third and fourth grades, grammar components and terms, such as noun, verb, adjective, article, and gender are introduced. Not only is this important to understanding how Spanish is spoken and written, it also reinforces grammar concepts taught in the regular Language Arts curriculum. All written work is carefully planned to be developmentally appropriate so that pre-reading, phonemic awareness, and fine-motor skills continue to be developed and reinforced. Pronunciation is key to learning and understanding any language and is a major component of the Spanish curriculum. Students participate in many cultural celebrations, too, such as El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and Cinco de Mayo. Practicing at home is made easy with the use of educational computer games that are linked through the school’s Web site. Overall, the Spanish program at the Lower School is built upon the belief that language is best learned at the youngest age possible and can be an enriching and fun experience.