FOREIGN LANGUAGES PROGRAM AT RAINBOW RIDGE SCHOOL
“Learning to understand and to speak another language fosters the healthy development of the child’s mind, body and heart. It helps the mind to develop lateral thinking patterns; the body to develop into a more differentiated tool and the heart into a more understanding, warm and tolerant psyche.” Rudolf Steiner
We endeavour to give as provide many opportunities for the students to be listening to and learning at least one, preferably two foreign languages, taking into account the time table and the availability of foreign language teachers. The best possible scenario is when a class teacher speaks another language because she/he can integrate it on an everyday basis. At the moment We currently have two class teachers being able to support this.
Our ideal is to teach two 40min lessons per week. This can be achieved through teachers swapping classes.
Rainbow Ridge School offers Chinese taught by a class teacher and a native speaker. Xixia runs a Chinese class for parents, funded by the AIS, at school to support the school’s program. As well we have staff being able teaching We currently employ teachers fluent in both Spanish and German. We have parents with different language backgrounds Many of our families come from non-English speaking backgrounds and it is wonderful to experience these languages in the school community.
How and what do the students learn in those lessons?
CLASS ONE AND TWO
In the first two classes where the children still work a lot out of imitation. In addition to reciting poems in chorus and singing songs, the initial foundation for grammar is laid by question and guessing games. Vocabulary is built up by means of stories told with gesture and pictures. The teacher can use props and puppets, let and the children draw pictures from the stories to support the lessons. Language teachers will mostly speak in the foreign language to the children. At this age they learn above all via movement and their own activity, which has to be balanced with the inner activity of listening. They learn to count forward and backward to hundred, about colours, spatial indications, greetings, the weather and the seasons, months and days of the week, animals and their natural environment. All these elements can be used by the teacher to let the lesson ‘breathe’, so that the children move in another language in a relaxed and rhythmical way.
With the powers of imitation waning, space must now be given to growing inner pictures. Everything up to now is repeated and expanded as the children are still uninhibited of confident enough to speak freely. Material from the Main lessons, such as like farming, can be used in dialogues and little plays. They can learn the whole alphabet through play. The children will gain a good pronunciation unconsciously and contextually, rather than by being corrected in an embarrassing way.
CLASS FOUR AND FIVE
So far, the children’s relationship to language has lived more in the feeling and will. Now their capacity to think can be cultivated by trying to discover the first few rules of grammar. In class four the students are getting receive their first exercise book, which will mirror a living treatment of the language, containing poetry and grammar.
In class five it is time to tax their memories by learning vocabulary and the verb forms. “The memory is formed by artistic, pictorial elements; the memory is strengthened by exerting the will,” said Steiner. As They learn to apply rules of grammar and correct spelling. Being imbued with another language touches deeper levels of their humanity.
CLASS SIX, SEVEN AND EIGHT
Grammar work and vocabulary is extended. Grammar provides a framework within which people can express themselves. The language is applied to ordinary situations such as travel, eating out, shopping and letters are written. The children meet the people and social customs of another country come to meet the students in through fables, in questions and answers, in ballads and dramatic texts, in sayings and anecdotes. Re-telling is practised orally and in writing.
Through the inner mobility of their speech organs the children discover a flexibility and openness that will have an effect on the whole of their future life, especially in regards to their social skills. Foreign language really serves to awaken openness and interest for people who are different diversity, which is a very important aspect of our education. This contribution to multiculturalism is both effective and profound, even if the students will not be are not able to speak the other language fluently by then. Foreign language instruction in this way is foundational, should unless they continue their studies at high school, adult education or through and travel.