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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Inquiring on how foreign languages are integrated into the M-environment.
In my dd previous M-school we had a spanish teacher twice a week, she did about a 20 minute session with small groups of children in the classroom. I do believe she made up her own curriculum and if she was kept informed of what unit theme was going on that month, she may have included it in her sessions. Mostly she covered the basics family, greetings, colors, numbers, weather, songs, etc. As far as materials, not much really, there were number matching cards and ones for color. More items were used if Spain was being covered. My dd did learn some spanish words etc.
How was it done in your school ???
 

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As far as the program at place in our school, I have to say that I am in favor of some reforms. We have 30 min in the morning class once a week. The children actually only get about 10 min. because the Spanish teacher must rotate 1/3 of the class for each lesson. Children in their 3rd year have an extra 1/2 hour class in the afternoons. It's extremely disruptive to the work cycle and I think very hard on the Spanish teacher. We are discussing ways to help her and have meetings scheduled. I am not sure who decided about the schedule. It's not very effective.

I think if there is truly a desire for a bilingual education, then the two adults in the Casa should speak different languages. Only with this consistency is the child going to develop the ability. Or maybe have a Spanish teacher that comes for a full morning once a week. My daughter has had 2 years of "Spanish" and does know numbers, some colors and basic greetings. Also, a few song. They learn the basics and they like going to Spanish but it's not really learning another language. My daughter is not able to understand people who speak Spanish when we see them like our friend who is from Mexico and is a High School Spanish Teacher. I took 2 years in High School and I can't understand her very well, granted that was quite a few years ago. Anyway, I guess I figure it's not really as worthwhile as it could be, and definitely not worth it to disturb the children. The ability to concentrate is so fragile at first, it needs to be nurtured and protected. With time and trust, it will slowly lengthen as the child depends more and more on his inner impulse to guide him in learning. The 3 hours is chosen in response to scientifically observable and recorded activity cycles.
The Spanish program could be beautifully integrated into the Children's House. There are a few schools that have bilingual guides or their Spanish teachers are taking M training. This would be ideal for the child who is interested in choosing Spanish materials as he could practice at will, and also for the child who is not interested in learning Spanish - who could choose to do another activity that is more interesting to him. We don't do units, but I do think it would be great to have Montessori Spanish language materials included on the shelf like sandpaper letters and moveable alphabet. Is it the same alphabet? Of course, the child would have lots of spoken language and soundgames in Espanol before these.
I feel the same way about all the "specials". It's unfortunate that some schools have to compromise this aspect of the M theory. It's not like we don't include art, music, language and movement, it should be integrated in the environment and not "taught" in the traditional way but experienced in the Montessori way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Lilliana................couldn't agree more !!!!!!!!
I too feel that true language learning can only be done in an fully intergrated environment with real life experiences. Oh how great to have a second language directress int he classroom. But alas, most schools are faced with the standard "traveling" second language teacher.
Also I truly dislike the interruption during the great work period as well. Fortunately how school did not "demand" that the children attend, they were offered to attend. But it was still a disruption.
My dd did learn spanish numbers, phrases, songs etc. And maybe that is all you can expect from a school unless it is immersion.
Ditto on all the specials too.......... great if they are offered, but definately not at the expense of the 3 hr cycle.

Oh yeah, I have seen spanish moveable alphabet and sandpaper letters, that is great, and a few items for the shelves. Mostly 3-part cards or matching activities.

So I am looking to see if some other moms m-schools have figured out a way to make it work better, just short of acquiring a bilinqual teacher parttime or full time.
 

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I'm intersted to read more, as my DD's school (she starts 9/5) has one staff teacher who speaks both English and Spanish. From what I have observed, she integrates Spanish into every day conversations and interactions. Not sure if they will have a "lesson" or if it's more casual than that. Hmmm... another something to explore further.
 

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The school I worked in was 0-6 and consisted of several nidos, IC's and primary classrooms. It was a billingual early head start program and many of the children enrolled came from spanish speaking homes. A typical classroom had an english speaking Directress, a billingual english and spanish speaking assistant and a spanish (only) speaking assistant. As a Directress I can say the dynamics were wonderful with us adults and I learned a ton of spanish language and culture while working there. The assistants spoke their native language the entire time they were working with the children. Just as any other M classroom they assisted the Directress and the children to work in the classroom. They just spoke in spanish. And I spoke to the children in english, always. It was wonderful to see how the children learned both languages, especially the ones who started in the program before learning to speak at all. These children will truly be billingual. And when they spoke to the adults, they knew who to speak spanish to and who spoke english. It was really a neat program. Just wanted to share my story
 
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