Pre-K students are exposed to both French and Spanish. The primary goal is to develop awareness, interest, and enthusiasm for the languages, the people, and the cultures. The program also seeks to develop students’ listening and speaking skills. A formal Spanish sequential curriculum is taught from Kindergarten through fourth grade. Students learn how to interact in Spanish with meaningful contexts. Topics and projects provide a framework for vocabulary and linguistic structures. The skills are based on the ACTFL standards for modern language learning. Communication refers to interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational skills. Through the target language, students also learn about culture, make connections across disciplines, and compare traditions and practices.
Fifth grade students continue Spanish for three months then switch to French, and finish the year with Latin. The exploratory Spanish, French, and Latin program for fifth graders develops basic skills necessary for comprehension and linguistic proficiency in the chosen language.
All Upper School students choose to take either French or Spanish for their final three years at Powhatan. Both will stress the use of the target language. Emphasis is placed on the four communicative skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The world language program also promotes the development of the three modes of communication: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational, through a setting that strengthens students’ appreciation for French and Spanish speaking cultures, provides a context for developing confidence to start communicating in the second language, and enhances cross-cultural awareness. Upon leaving Powhatan, students will have completed level one in either French or Spanish.
An optional Latin class incorporating Greek and Latin etymology study is offered once a week after school in sixth grade.