Why we teach Spanish
Learning a foreign language at primary school forms a firm foundation for further study at secondary school. Children are more sensitive to language acquisition and accurate pronunciation than teenagers or adults, so an early start is beneficial. Language learning allows for communication and connection with people around the world and helps in the development of empathy and understanding of other cultures. Children gain a sense of accomplishment in cracking the code of a second language and in being able to combine vocabulary and structures to express ideas. In addition, foreign language learning increases critical thinking skills, creativity, and flexibility of mind in young children. There are transferable benefits as well, as through studying a foreign language, grammatical concepts and rules in English become clearer; children use what they learn in one language to reinforce what they’ve learned in another.
We have chosen to teach Spanish rather than another modern or ancient language as we believe that the comparatively simple written form of the language, with its regular patterns and few exceptions, will allow our pupils greater success with reading and writing. Spanish is spoken in other countries of the world besides Spain, so allows for a wider exploration of cultures and places. There are links with our Year 5 “Hola Mexico” topic.
How we teach Spanish
Our Key Stage 2 (Years 3 - 6) classes have a weekly Spanish lesson using a high quality video-based scheme provided by Primary Languages Network. Lessons are delivered in a hybrid format, using pre-recorded videos featuring a native Spanish speaker, while the non-specialist class teacher supports and monitors the progress of the children. The programme is structured to allow for regular practice and consolidation of skills and knowledge, alongside the teaching of new content. The lessons are engaging and fun, with lots of songs, games, oral and written activities.
Our Curriculum Drivers in Spanish
Learning Spanish will help our pupils to develop an understanding of other cultures and countries. Stories and songs in Spanish provide a means of artistic expression.
Children learn about the regions of the world where Spanish is spoken. They develop an understanding of the built and natural environments of these regions, making comparisons with the UK.
Pupils develop the vocabulary and language skills to express ideas in Spanish, noting changes when translating from English.
In learning Spanish, pupils explore features of the language, making connections and noting patterns. They analyse simple sentence structures and apply their knowledge in creating their own forms.
How our curriculum is structured
We introduced Primary Languages Network Spanish in September 2021, with all four Key Stage 2 classes beginning at Stage 1. Pupils in Years 4, 5 and 6 had had some Spanish teaching previously, and so we have been able to build upon this, with a deeper level of engagement with the language while still following the PLN structure. In the coming years, pupils in Key Stage 2 will move through the scheme, until Year 6 access Stage 4 in 2024-25.