Presidio Hill School begins teaching Spanish in third grade. The program is an engaging one, with students participating in creative hands-on projects and activities with a goal of developing immediate language skills and equipping students with lifelong language acquisition strategies.
In the Middle School, due to an influx of new students with varying levels of Spanish language skills, Spanish classes are divided into two sections. Each section works to develop immediate language skills and equip students with useful, lifelong language-acquisition strategies. The objectives are to develop, reinforce and refine communicative competency in listening, speaking, reading, writing and culture.
Spanish at Presidio Hill is an integrated experience drawing on students' art and drama abilities as well as writing, speaking and presentational skills. Students read and listen to a story in Spanish and—using the target vocabulary they have learned and utilizing TPRS (Teaching Proficiency Through Reading and Storytelling) techniques (see below)—write their own story. Students bring their stories' characters to life by drawing or modeling them in different materials. Finally, students give a dramatic presentation of their story and receive a review of their work from their classmates.
Through an inductive approach, students gain an intuitive understanding of how the language is acquired and how they can use this knowledge to express themselves linguistically. Differentiation of language instruction takes place by adapting the contents and techniques to the differing abilities and needs of the students. The various methodologies employed take into consideration different learning styles.
Among the methodologies incorporated are the Natural Approach, Total Physical Response (TPR) and Teaching Proficiency Through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS). These methods presuppose that world-language instruction should meet students' communicative needs. Students begin by acquiring the vocabulary, phrases, structures and eventually the grammatical and written skills appropriate to and useful in their everyday environment.
Spanish is taught completely in Spanish. Students learn how to communicate in class using the target language from day one. They are encouraged to speak Spanish with teachers and between classmates to create a Spanish immersion experience.