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World Languages and Cultures

The World Languages and Cultures program exposes students to language instruction, empathy, connectivity, and cultural diversity to develop globally literate learners.
 
Students in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 3 receive a full year of Spanish language instruction as well as World Cultures. In Grade 4, students receive one trimester each of instruction in Mandarin, Latin, and Spanish. Lower School students study language and cultures to learn the foundations of listening, oral, reading, and written competencies. The Lower School focus on language and cultural acquisition gives students constant language input by watching, listening, reading, and mimicking. With each year of growth and development as a student and a learner, students’ output (speaking and writing) continually grows. By the time students reach Middle School, they are more confident listeners, speakers, readers, and writers at the Novice Low proficiency level than the incoming Middle School student with no previous language exposure. In addition to developing an appreciation of and comfort with a world language, students gain an understanding of different customs, a connection to other people, an interest in communities beyond the Seacoast, and an ability to see the world with an empathic lens. 
 
Essential Questions:
What skills are needed to learn new languages? Why is learning another language an important skill? How can we best learn and appreciate world languages?
What are some similarities and differences between the Spanish, Mandarin, Latin, and English languages and cultures? 
How can we cultivate a deep understanding and empathy for other cultures? How does learning another language and culture help me better understand myself, others, and the world around me?
 
Skills and Enduring Understandings:
Lower School World Languages are taught through music and singing, wordplay, games, movement and dance, videos and images, art, and all of our senses. The primary goals of the World Languages and Cultures program in the Lower School are to offer authentic cultural competency and an introduction to the language. The majority of the Lower School language pedagogy is input-based according to the developmental stages of the students. However, students are encouraged to take risks speaking and writing in the target language as well. Exposure to culture is one of the most valued and important parts of the World Languages and Cultures curriculum because it makes the language come alive and sparks student interest.
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Students who begin learning language at a younger age demonstrate a more secure proficiency level and reach a higher level of proficiency in their Upper School experience than students who begin learning language as a Middle School student. Berwick Academy students who begin learning a second language in the Lower School tend to exhibit more confidence and excitement in their World Languages and Cultures classes throughout their Middle School years and beyond.
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Berwick Academy

Berwick Academy, situated on an 80-acre campus just over one hour north of Boston, serves 600 students, Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12, from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Deeply committed to its mission of promoting virtue and useful knowledge, Berwick Academy empowers students to be creative and bold. Berwick strives to graduate alumni who shape their own learning, take risks, ask thoughtful questions, and come to understand and celebrate their authentic selves.