Introduction of Spanish Vocabulary in Preschool and Prekindergarten
This fall, our new Preschool and Prekindergarten curriculum programs will include activities that incorporate Spanish vocabulary related to the thematic content of each two-week unit.
Why Spanish vocabulary in the Preschool and Prekindergarten curricula?
Over the past several decades, the number of people living in the United States who speak a language other than English has been steadily rising. In addition, economies worldwide are becoming more global and interrelated. Therefore, it is becoming more important for native speakers of English in the U. S. to learn one or more additional languages.
Young children are naturally curious about languages and are in fact capable of retaining a second language more easily than older children and adults. Brain research has indicated that learning additional languages is easier for young children than it is for adolescents and adults, and that language acquisition becomes more difficult as we age. Cultivating young children’s curiosity about languages can spark a lifelong interest in languages and can benefit children later in life as their worlds expand into the broader contexts of society.
What will children learn through the Spanish components of the Preschool and Prekindergarten programs?
The Spanish vocabulary component of both programs is designed to give children exposure to and practice with Spanish vocabulary related to the theme of each two-week curriculum unit. It is not intended to teach children to speak Spanish or to read Spanish texts. However, children will have many opportunities to see Spanish words in print, which helps children who are learning to read make the connection between spoken language and printed language.
What Spanish vocabulary will be taught?
Children in the Preschool program will be introduced to up to five new Spanish words each week. These words align with the theme of the unit and are incorporated into a handful of activities and games both indoors and outdoors. In addition, children sing songs each day that also help reinforce Spanish vocabulary, such as the song “Adiós Means Goodbye,” which children sing together at the end of each day during the fall season.
Spanish activities in the Prekindergarten program are comprised of weekly whole-group and small-group activities. Children in the Prekindergarten program will begin the year learning simple greetings, numbers from 1 to 10, and colors. During the winter season, children will learn the Spanish words for body parts, such as head, face, eyes, arms, and legs; the words for different family members; and the words for common pets. In the spring, children will learn numbers through 20, and the words for common farm animals. Each child will also receive a seasonal Spanish activity book that helps reinforce the vocabulary learned each week. These activity books are the children’s to keep at the end of each season.