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World Language

At The Woods Academy, our students begin learning a second language as early as 4 years old. Our Montessori Owls (Pre-K students) start by having World Language once a week - half of the year is in French and half is in Spanish. By Kindergarten, they are taking World Language four times a week. By the time you’re in Grade 1, you receive instruction in Spanish or French every single school day.

World Language is part of our core curriculum - just like Language Arts or Math - and has been that way since The Woods Academy opened in 1975. From the beginning, we’ve seen the benefits of offering a world language from Montessori to Grade 8.

There are many benefits to learning a second language, in addition to the ability to interact more effectively in our multinational world. For children, the gains range from improved reading and grades to stronger standardized test scores and increased levels of creativity, empathy, and problem-solving skills.

Here are a few of the reasons, backed with research, for children to learn a second language:

  1. Students who study a world language for just one year score an average of 38 points higher on the SATs. Four years of a world language can improve scores by more than 100 hundred points.
  2. People who speak more than one language are much better multitaskers.
  3. Individuals who know two languages are better able to tolerate differences and find solutions to conflict.
Grade 1 and Grade 2 World Language

In first grade, students choose the language they will study for the rest of their time at The Woods. Early language instruction emphasizes listening and speaking skills. Students learn songs, poems and play games that reinforce communicative skills. Activities that focus on vocabulary, structures, and expressions help students develop dialogues about everyday topics.

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Grade 3 and Grade 4 World Language

In third and fourth grade at The Woods, daily language instruction prioritizes the development of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Through a variety of activities, such as oral presentations, guided reading and writing exercises, circle time, writing and performing skits, authentic audio sources, and interactive games, students reinforce and further develop their abilities.

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Grade 5 and Grade 6 World Language

In the Upper School, students continue to develop the basic skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and cultural awareness. Grammar is presented formally for reference in practical and functional situations. Each lesson integrates comprehension, self-expression, and use of target vocabulary and grammar.

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Grade 7 and Grade 8 World Language

In grades 7 and 8, World Language students continue to develop proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, writing, and cultural awareness. They master more complex grammatical structures and continue to expand their vocabulary through thematic units of study. In addition to learning grammar and vocabulary, students also learn content such as history and culture directly in French or Spanish, relying heavily on authentic sources.

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World Language in Montessori

After introductory experiences in both French and Spanish, Kindergarteners begin to develop oral proficiency in basic French or Spanish vocabulary. Using songs, games, and coloring to reinforce their world language skills, students are provided with opportunities to follow directions and connect pictures with words. These activities teach and reinforce pronunciation, structures, and vocabulary – colors, numbers, clothing, parts of the body, family, weather, holidays, seasons, and animals.

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Benefits of Learning a Second Language

World Language Team Leader joined Good Morning Washington to discuss the benefits of a second language during National Bilingual Month. 

Watch the TV Segment to Learn More


Learning a Second Language in Elementary School

Early learning of a second language develops a lifelong ability to communicate with more people.

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