At Wick, we believe that learning a foreign language should be enjoyable, engaging and purposeful and should enable the pupils to make substantial progress in one language. We have chosen Spanish as Wick's main language because of the number of Spanish speakers around the world but also because it is a language that many children will encounter through holidays, pop songs and online games and apps. Learning Spanish also provides the opportunity to develop intercultural understanding of the culture and customs of Spain and Spanish speaking Central and South American countries.
Children learn Spanish in years 3 to 6 as part of the normal curriculum and receive an hour a week of Spanish teaching taught by a specialist teacher. In addition, key stage 2 classes answer the register and sing the lunchtime prayer in Spanish. The teaching provides a balance of spoken and written language and the children are taught to listen attentively to spoken language and join in and respond in words, phrases and short sentences. Patterns and sounds of language are explored through songs, games, rhymes, stories and videos. The children answer questions, ask questions and hold simple conversations. Accurate pronunciation is encouraged when speaking and reading aloud. The children read and write phrases and simple sentences in Spanish, adapting them to create new sentences. The older children write and make short presentations in Spanish and use dictionaries to research new vocabulary and increase their understanding of the language.
Wick has a well-established link with Gloria Fuertes International School in Jaen, Andalucia (Southern Spain) and every child in key stage 2 at Wick has a pen pal with whom they regularly exchange letters and cards. The letter writing gives the children the opportunity to write Spanish for a purpose and to learn about Spanish culture and customs. The children are excited to write and receive letters from their friends in Spain and we now have children who are in their fourth year of writing to the same pen pal. Have a look at the power point below about Gloria Fuertes.
In addition to learning the language, the children also learn about the major cultural and religious festivals celebrated in Spain and Spanish speaking Central and Southern American countries including Dia de los Muertos (Day of the dead), Christmas and El Dia de los Tres Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day), Dia del Amor y Amistad (Day of love and friendship) and Easter.
Children are enthusiastic about learning Spanish and find it fun but it is also a window to different cultures and it allows them to connect with their Spanish pen pals and with others from around the world. There are other benefits to learning languages and research has shown that it helps children's thinking skills and memory abilities, and the ability to focus. As language learners, the children become more conscious thinkers and listeners who gain a broader, more global perspective.
A selection of Easter cards made by the KS2 classes for their Spanish pen pals to celebrate La Semana Santa.
Curriculum topic letters from each of the classes at Gloria Fuertes in November 2021.
The Year 3 class introduced themselves to their new pen pals, The Year 4 class wrote about Halloween and their environment topic, The Year 5 class wrote about their Solar System topic and hobbies and the Year 6 class wrote about Christmas, hobbies and the Environment.
At the end of term 1, the children learnt about Dia de los Muertos, (the day of the dead) a Mexican tradition to honour dead loved ones. It is believed that the gates of heaven are opened between 1st and 2nd November and the spirits of deceased ancestors join their families for a day. Altars are made at home and are decorated with candles, marigolds, food, drink, paper skulls and miniature sugar skulls. The festivities begin in the home, but move to the cemetary, where people clean graves, listen to music and talk about the dead. In some places, there are street parties or citywide festivals and face painting is popular. The children enjoyed learning about the festival while watching some snippets from the Disney film Coco, colouring in paper skulls and listening to Mexican music.