• 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:
With the change in emphasis from French language instruction to Mandarin (and Spanish and Latin) in the older two Divisions, the Lower School is following suit by altering our World Language program this year.  Our approach to World Language instruction in grades Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten will consist of general World Language classes taught by either Jufen Rui or Julie Alexander.  These classes will typically 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 will engage in both Mandarin (taught by Jufen Rui) and Spanish (taught by Julie Alexander) throughout the whole year, participating in one of each class per week.  This approach enhances and furthers the objectives we are undertaking 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 will deepen students’ enjoyment of each class.

Second Grade Mandarin: “Kungfu Panda” is the theme for this grade. We will 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.

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Berwick Academy is Maine's oldest, independent Pre-K through Post Graduate private school. Our community is dynamic, offering challenging academics, competitive athletics, and creative arts programs. Members of the community operate within a context of caring and respect as we pursue our quest for "useful knowledge" as "one school with three divisions." Students and faculty are encouraged to expand their horizons by balancing academics with athletic, dramatic, and musical options.