Importance of Second Language Acquisition
Recognizing the importance of early second language acquisition, Gateway’s Spanish instruction begins in Kindergarten. Research confirms that knowledge of a second language strengthens first-language skills, and helps students to appreciate the power of words and the many different uses of language. When children hear and experience the sounds and feelings of a world language, they develop an ear for all language acquisition. The ability to speak two or more languages generally enhances problem-solving and reasoning skills, the capacity for creative thinking, and the ability to respect and understand other cultures. Second-language learning strengthens the ability to communicate and participate effectively in the workplace and in the global community.
Gateway’s Spanish instruction imparts an appreciation of the Spanish language and Hispanic/Latino cultures. It is taught through songs, stories, art, drama, TPRS (Total Physical Response and Storytelling), conversation, and vocabulary building. In grades K-3, the focus is on speaking and listening, while in grades 4 & 5, there is greater emphasis on grammar and the written word.
Language skills introduced each year become more complex as children grow and develop. The teachers provide a supportive environment where second-language skills are introduced gradually and practiced continuously. Integrating elements of Spanish with other curricular areas helps students to see connections and relationships among ideas, people and things and to relate their learning to the world outside the school. Lessons are designed to prepare students to use Spanish in a variety of contexts including: speaking, listening, reading, and writing.