• Berwick

Lower School World Languages

Essential Questions:
What skills combine to make effective speakers of world languages?
How can we best learn and appreciate world languages?
What are some similarities and differences between Spanish, Mandarin and Global Cookbook languages?

Skills and Enduring Understandings:
Our approach to World Language instruction in grades Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten consists of classes that support the students’ understanding of World Language acquisition through song, word play, customs and cooking.  Building on that base, we have developed a concurrent, year long approach to the study of World Language in first through fourth grades.  Students at these grade levels engage in both Mandarin and Spanish throughout the whole year, participating in one of each class per week.  This approach enhances and furthers the objectives we undertake with the Pre-kindergarten and Kindergarten students.  

Sample Unit or Activity by Grade (for Mandarin, as a content example):
First Grade Mandarin: The theme for this grade’s curriculum is “Little tadpoles look for their mom.” Students learn basic greetings, numbers, colors, body organs, and how to address relatives in Chinese. They learn how to write 20-50 simple characters. An array of related cultural activities deepen students’ enjoyment of each class.

Second Grade Mandarin: “Kungfu Panda” is the theme for this grade. We expand our knowledge of numbers, time, foods, animals and colors. The students learn 50-80 characters. They will dive into a number of cultural activities timed to line up with traditional Chinese festivals.

Third Grade Mandarin: “Monkey King” is a very famous character in China, coming to us from old Chinese literature. In this year’s curriculum, students travel with the monkey king to bring back sacred Buddhist scrolls from the west (India, in this case). Students will learn more country names, foods, furniture, animals, and family members. They will become acquainted with the stories of classic Chinese novels.

Fourth Grade Mandarin: “The Adventures of Dingding and Lingling.” Dingding and Lingling are two students who like adventures. They will show students different cultures and stories as they travel the world. In this year, students will explore cultural clashes by travelling alongside Dingding and Lingling. They’ll also learn how to say more country names, parts of the body, gifts, dates, and colors.

Serving Maine, The Seacoast of New Hampshire, and the North Shore of Massachusetts

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.  Founded in 1791 and rooted in a tradition of college preparation, our culture of innovation prepares students for a complex and dynamic world.