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St. Ursula Villa Logo
St. Ursula Villa Logo

Foreign Languages (K - 8)


St. Ursula Villa offers Foreign Language options of French or Spanish to students in Montessori and Traditional Kindergarten through Junior High. Foreign language instruction is once per week K-2 and twice per week 3 - 6. In Junior High, foreign language becomes a daily core class and students have options of French, Spanish, or Latin.

French Program

Why is it important?

  • Children have the ability to learn and excel in the pronunciation of a foreign language.
  • Children who study a foreign language in elementary school achieve gains and higher scores on standardized tests in reading, language arts, and math.
  • Children who study a foreign language show greater cognitive development in areas of mental flexibility, creativity, divergent thinking, and higher order thinking skills.
  • Children who study a foreign language develop a sense of openness to and appreciation of other cultures.
  • Children studying a foreign language have an improved self concept and sense of achievement in school.
  • Kindergarten

    • Instruction in French, 30 minutes once a week.
    • Uses auditory, visual, and kinesthetic activities to learn French.
    • Emphasis on listening, speaking French through songs, rhymes, and stories.
    • The primary focus is on the enjoyment of learning French.
  • Primary: Grades 1 and 2

    • Instruction in French, 30 minutes once a week.
    • Children develop listening and speaking skills in learning French.
    • Stories, songs, and varied interactive activities encourage language acquisition and an awareness of the French culture.
    • Reading in French is introduced with simple expressions in Grade 2.
  • Primary: Grade 3

    • Instruction in French, 30 minutes twice a week.
    • The text series , "Promenades 1, Vive le Francais," provides basic vocabulary and language structures---relevant to the interests and environment of the student.
    • The program is an activity-oriented approach aimed at developing the communication skills of listening, reading, speaking, and writing.
    • An introduction to Quebec, Canada as a French-speaking country is also presented.
  • Intermediate: Grade 4

    • Instruction in French, 30 minutes twice a week.
    • The text series, "Promenades 1" is continued from Grade 3. The vocabulary and structures become more complex, furthering language development in all four skill areas.
    • Aspects of French Canadian culture are also introduced.
  • Intermediate: Grade 5

    • Instruction in French, 30 minutes twice a week.
    • The text, "Promenades 2", escalates the level of language development with more challenging activities. Some fundamental grammar features are presented and exercises become more open-ended for creative communication. Students are involved in creating skits and learning language in contexts related to their experiences.
    • Students at this level also study the French heritage in North America, focusing on the French explorers, Quebec, Louisiana, and the holiday celebrations that are particular to the culture.
    • Students are invited to join the French Club to explore more avenues of "fun with French"!
  • Intermediate: Grade 6

    • Instruction in French, 30 minutes twice a week.
    • Students at this level use the "Acti-Vie" French program, a core French program adopted for use in Ontario, Canada. Students learn French in contextual situations that reflect real life and participate in hands-on projects. Theme-based units require communication in French to complete a project. Students also study the French influence and contribution in art, music, science, and history and develop an awareness of the French-speaking world with activities that support their general education.
    • Students are invited to join the French Club to explore more avenues of "fun with French"!
  • Junior High: Grades 7 and 8

    • Is a High School, Level 1 program.
    • Instruction in French occurs every day for 45 minutes.
    • The key objective is to build proficiency in the language - focusing on communicative competence with a reasonable degree of accuracy in the four skill areas.
    • A second objective is to build an awareness and appreciation of the French culture.
    • Travel to Quebec, Canada offers a cultural experience for the students.
    • Students have earned National and State recognition of language competence through the French National Test - sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French.
    • The program affords students an opportunity for advanced placement in the high school language class.
    • Students are encouraged to join the French Club to explore more avenues of French culture.

Spanish Program

Why is it important?

Studies have shown early Foreign-Language Learning gives children an academic and cognitive edge. Learning Spanish at an early age will:

  • help students develop and master problem-solving skills.
  • expose students to numerous Hispanic cultures, which will help them develop multiple points of view, enhancing their critical thinking skills.
  • give them a greater window of opportunity to develop oral proficiency, which is more challenging to master at a later age.
  • nurture children's innate curiosity and help them harvest an interest in languages and cultures to last a lifetime.
  • prepare them to thrive in an increasingly multi-cultural and multilingual society.
  • learn about and connect with the fastest-growing population sector in the United States.
  • Kindergarten

    Our kindergarten Spanish classes meet for 30 minutes once a week. During these classes, students are exploring how to learn a foreign language and developing a love for learning a foreign language. Students' curiosity at this age lends itself to investigating word sounds and making connections between English and Spanish. In class, we use auditory, visual, and kinesthetic activities to learn. Songs, stories, pictures and movement help students maintain and use the language. Speaking and listening skill are taught at this level. Examples of themes and vocabulary taught in Kindergarten units are:

    • Numbers
    • Colors
    • Greetings and introductions
    • Emotions
    • Familiar children stories.
  • Primary: Grades 1 and 2

    First and second graders continue to develop a strong foundation for learning the language. Speaking and listening skills are emphasized in a 30 minute class once a week. In addition to the auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning students experienced in Kindergarten, first and second graders delve into interpersonal communication in the target language. Songs, stories, SmartBoard activities, pictures, and dramatization help us continue our language acquisition. Examples of themes and vocabulary taught in first and second grade units are:

    • Animals
    • Classroom objects
    • Classroom activities
    • Number continuation.
  • Primary: Grade 3

    In third grade, students get the opportunity to meet twice a week for 30 minutes. Students open up to new language skills by exploring the written word, reading and illustrating simple expressions, and creating their own original short sentences. Of course, students continue to practice listening and speaking skills in a conversational environment. The SmartBoard, white boards, and other classroom manipulatives help us to make connections to Spanish and further our abilities to understand and communicate. Examples of themes and vocabulary used in third grade units are:

    • The alphabet
    • Classroom commands
    • Common cognates
    • Family
    • Body parts.
  • Intermediate: Grade 4, 5, and 6

    In the intermediate grades, students meet twice a week for 45 minutes. The program is based in activity-oriented learning in order to continue to tune and develop students' communication skills. Storytelling, dramatization, physical response, and kinesthetic learning are at the forefront of the intermediate classes. Students also get a chance to explore other cultures and other parts of the world that speak Spanish. One of the most noted examples of this type of enrichment includes the pen-pal exchange in which students take part. Our Villa students exchange letters with students living in the suburbs of Madrid, opening them to authentic language practice and cultural experience. Examples of themes and vocabulary taught in fourth grade, fifth grade, and sixth grade units are:

    • Weather
    • South America and travel
    • The city and the community
    • Describing how we feel in different situations
    • Describing ourselves and others
    • Family traditions
    • Food and celebrations
    • Famous Latin American artists.
  • Junior High: Grades 7 and 8

    Our Spanish program is the equivalent of a High School, Level 1. Spanish instruction for junior high students occurs daily for 45 minutes. Students develop language proficiency in all areas speaking, listening, reading, writing and thinking. A conversation based classroom helps emphasize a student-centered learning environment where students can use and manipulate the language in practical, personal situations. The Spanish program gives students the opportunity for advanced placement in high school language classes

    In junior high, students have the opportunity to join Spanish Club which extends culture and language learning outside of the classroom in fun and creative ways.

Latin Program

Junior High (Grades 7 - 8)

The goals of the Latin program in the Junior High are to help students become proficient in level 1 Latin; to develop English vocabulary skills through the study of Latin roots, prefixes and suffixes; to improve English grammar through the study of Latin grammar; and to study the influence of Latin and the ancient Romans on modern American culture. Our basal text is Ecce Romani and it is supplemented with Jenney's Latin Book 1. In addition to the basal texts, the course includes several projects, internet activities, and video presentations. A variety of modes of teaching are employed to help students maximize their enjoyment of the language. The Latin Club meets several times each month and plans activities such as the annual spring chariot races.