We currently have 5 different levels according to language development, age and school year. Instruction at these levels is given mostly in Spanish so they are expected to understand.
The initial focus is on listening to the sounds and patterns of Spanish through language-rich activities such as rhymes, songs, clapping and action games. Repetition and recycling help children to identify frequently used words and simple phrases and to recognise the purpose of simple texts. Children identify and use non-verbal communication strategies employed by Spanish speakers in greetings and other social interactions and experiment with simple responses to prompts and cues. As they progress to using Spanish for functions such as asking and answering questions, responding to instructions, singing songs, and taking turns in games and simple shared tasks, they begin to notice that language can behave differently in different situations and that Spanish speakers communicate in some ways that are different from English speakers. They practise and repeat sounds (such as j, ll and r) which differ in Spanish from those in English. Creative play provides opportunities for exploring these differences and for using Spanish for purposeful interaction, for example, asking for help or expressing surprise.
The transition from spoken to written language is scaffolded through shared exploration of simple texts. Children progress from supported comprehension and use of a small number of personally significant sight words to more elaborated simple texts. Writing skills progress from labelling pictures and copying words to constructing simple texts using familiar vocabulary and structures. As children learn to adjust language to suit different purposes and situations, they begin to learn the important role of culture in shaping language use.
The development of oral proficiency at this stage continues to rely on rich language input in different modes, including examples of different accents and varieties of Spanish in the Spanish-speaking world. Children engage in a lot of listening and responding by actions, building active listening and comprehension skills. Language is authentic with some modification, involving familiar vocabulary and simple structures. Children are supported to expand their use of the language in familiar interactions and situations, such as exchanging simple ideas and information, negotiating predictable activities, and participating in shared tasks, performances and play. They continue to build vocabulary that can be adapted for different purposes, and to control simple grammatical forms with some accuracy. Attention is focused on grammar, vocabulary building, pronunciation, and non-verbal and cultural dimensions of language use through purposeful communicative activities and experiences.
Learners use Spanish with peers and the teacher for a widening range of purposes: exchanging information, expressing ideas and feelings, performing, and responding to experiences and resources from the Spanish-speaking world. Learners’ ability to communicate is developing in terms of fluency, accuracy and complexity. As they draw on a growing range of vocabulary resources and grammatical structures, their pronunciation, intonation and phrasing steadily improve and they use an increasing range of body language, such as hand gestures, used by Spanish speakers. Shared tasks provide a context for purposeful language experience and experimentation. Focused attention on language structures and systems, literacy skills development and exploration of cultural elements of communication are conducted at least in part in Spanish.
Oracy development at this level includes active listening to input from different sources (including different varieties of Spanish) and extending conversational and interactional skills. This involves initiating and sustaining conversations, turn-taking, ‘reading’ language for cultural and contextual meaning, building on others’ contributions, making appropriate responses and adjustments, and engaging in debate and discussion. Individual and group oral presentation and performance skills are developed through researching and organising information, and structuring and rehearsing presentations. Literacy development involves more independent interaction with a wider range of texts. Learners draw on their growing grammatical and lexical resources to compose and comprehend more complex language. They use a range of cues and decoding strategies to assist comprehension and to make connections between ideas and language within and between texts. They write more accurately and fluently for a wider range of purposes and audiences.
Learners are encouraged to listen to, read and write Spanish in a range of interactions with the teacher and one another. They experiment with sounds, intonation patterns and body language, using high-frequency vocabulary and expressions, gradually broadening their range of language functions. They use modelled and rehearsed language in familiar contexts and begin to use the language learnt to express their own personal meaning. They work both collaboratively and independently in Spanish, exploring a variety of simple texts, including songs/raps, emails, advertisements and online exchanges, with particular reference to their current social, cultural and communicative interests. They share language knowledge and resources in small groups to plan, problem-solve, monitor and reflect. They read, view and listen to texts, and apply modelled language to create and present their own texts, for example, shared stories, poems, advertisements and journal entries. They begin to use vocabulary and grammar accurately, drafting and editing texts to improve structure and clarify meaning. They develop grammatical knowledge and language awareness through analysing texts, comparing languages, and applying their knowledge in language exercises and tasks.
Learners use a range of processes such as observing, comparing and reflecting on language use to identify how cultural values and perspectives are embedded in language, and how language choices determine how people, issues and circumstances are represented. They reflect on intercultural perspectives and their experience of interactions, and make cross-curricular connections. They consider fundamental concepts associated with the Spanish-speaking world, such as the diversity of peoples, cultures, geographic locations and languages. They explore aspects of environment, lifestyle and practices across cultures and make comparisons with their own. They develop a metalanguage for discussing language and culture, and monitor and reflect on their language and culture learning through discussions, journalling or contributions to a shared digital space.