Students at the Lead-Deadwood Elementary School receive a rather worldly opportunity.
Through the Middlebury Interactive Languages program all students in Kindergarten through fifth grade have the chance to learn one of four foreign language’s online.
“It’s exciting to hear our students practicing their foreign language lessons in the hallways of our school,” Elementary School Principal Tim Kosters said.
The foreign language class is offered during the spring semester with students able to complete Spanish, Spanish 2, French, German and Chinese. Last year, 219 students studied Spanish, 47 studied Chinese, 67 studied French and 44 students studied German.
“I love it when my students make connections between their foreign language class and the stories we read in the classroom,” Second Grade Teacher Nancy Mertens said.
“It makes our class discussions more engaging when students can share what they’ve learned.”
The Middlebury software, which is aligned with national standards, allows for a self-paced learning environment for each student. In addition, the program has proven beneficial through the enhancement of student ELA skills, exercise in cognitive function, cultural awareness and opportunity for interactions with those who speak other languages.
“Speaking, learning, or even just having an understanding of a foreign language is one of the best and most valuable tools we can give our children and ourselves,” Second Grade Parent Tessa Allen said.
“You embrace people, their cultures, and their differences because you have an understanding of how they live.”
The program can also be accessed by the students from home so they can share it with their family.
“The Lead-Deadwood Elementary School’s Foreign Language Program is a wonderful opportunity for the whole family,” Kindergarten and Second Grade Parent Natasha Fuller said.
“Our daughters are excited and positive about learning a second language at school and bringing their new knowledge home to share. We find ourselves inquiring about other places, talking about the world outside of our small community, and dreaming of places that we want to see and experience.”
Research shows students who study a foreign language understand the English language better and the increased vocabulary and stronger listening skills carry over to the general education classroom, which Kosters says is exactly what the school is after.
“We focus on providing as many opportunities for success for our students as possible,” Kosters said. “Our foreign language program is just one example of our District’s strategic focus on student success.”