Hopkins elementary schools have Spanish language instruction integrated into their regular curriculum.
Hopkins has started implementing our new Spanish FLES (Foreign Language in the Elementary School) program in kindergarten and second grade.
- Children have Spanish instruction three times each week; 20 minutes per time in kindergarten, 30 minutes per session in grade 1, 2, 3 and 4.
- We will be adding a grade level each year through grade 6.
- The Spanish program is focused both on Spanish language proficiency and cultural knowledge and understanding.
- Class instruction is primarily in Spanish.
- Curriculum is aligned to Hopkins content standards in language arts and social studies.
- Students remaining in Hopkins for grades K-6 will be ready for Spanish level II in junior high, with a range of advanced level course offerings available though high school. Some of these courses may provide college credit to students.
Spanish learning by grade level
Each year, our Spanish curriculum focuses on different themes and cultural concepts. Listed below is how this looks at the kindergarten, first-, second-, and third-grade level.
Kindergarten Spanish Learning
- Calendar (days of the week, months, numbers 1-20, weather, seasons)
- Trees (enrichment)
- Body parts
First-Grade Spanish Learning
- Continuing kindergarten themes (reviewing vocabulary)
- Health: emotions/feelings and nutrition, personal health and wellness
- Animals: describe and sort animals using observable characteristics
Second-Grade Spanish Learning
- Weather vocabulary
- Cultural awareness
- Map skills
- Math vocabulary
- Story comprehension
Third-Grade Spanish Learning
- Pond life
- Sun, moon, and stars
- Branches of government
- Fundamentals of our economy
- Compare and contrast
- Characters in stories
- Cultural connections
Research indicates that it’s easier to grasp language at a young age. According to Lisa Sohn, World Language coordinator for Hopkins Public Schools, the brain’s ability to acquire language naturally begins to close at age four, is noticeably different by age seven and eight, and by age 10, virtually closes. After that point, learning a language involves a different cognitive approach.
"In order for our students to reach higher levels of proficiency by grade 12, we need to design and implement a well-articulated program of other language acquisition starting in kindergarten that is continuous and uninterrupted," said Lisa Sohn.
The addition of World Language to the elementary curriculum aligns with the numerous World Language opportunities offered at the junior high and high school levels in Hopkins. Students will be better prepared to join advanced language tracks that offer college credit and other elective course choices.
The importance of secondary language acquisition is paramount. "We need to prepare students for a work world that places high value on global competency and multilingual skills," said Lisa Sohn.