Modern & Classical Languages
At Blake, we don't just teach languages – we help students learn a new language and fall in love with it for life. Intensive instruction in Spanish develops Lower School students' foreign language skills at an early age. In sixth grade, students may continue with Spanish or begin studying French, Latin or Mandarin Chinese. In the Upper School, language skills are complemented by opportunities to travel and connect with other cultures.
We recognize that some students arrive already fluent in another language, and we make every effort to differentiate instruction for these students.
Daily Spanish Instruction: Grades Pre-K Through 5
Learning another language in childhood is the best way to work toward developing language proficiency. The Lower School offers 30 minutes of daily Spanish instruction for students in kindergarten through grade five. The engaging curriculum includes stories, songs and videos. Students leave the Lower School program with up to six years of formal language instruction.
Extending Language Study: Grades 6 Through 8
Middle School students study the same language from grades six through eight. Some choose to continue learning Spanish. Others use their considerable language-acquisition skills to tackle French, Latin or Mandarin Chinese. Students whose understanding of a language is extremely advanced receive instruction appropriate to their level.
Language and cultural study are interwoven. Practical experiences such as field trips and celebrations of cultural holidays supplement class instruction and make lessons memorable and fun.
Focus on Language & Culture: Grades 9 Through 12
Advanced study ensures that Upper School students graduate with deep understanding of a language and of the culture(s) in which it is or was used. All students study a language at least through the end of sophomore year and complete a Level III course. Most Blake students choose to take language through their junior and senior years. A great majority of students graduate with four years of Upper School language instruction, and many pursue Advanced Placement and Post-AP classes in Latin, French, Spanish and Chinese.
Students who choose to continue their studies still further have many ways to explore how language, history and cultures intersect. They might attend a Spanish-language theatre production and review it en español, connect with current events in French, research daily life in ancient Rome or read young-adult literature written in Chinese. They are keenly aware that language and culture go hand-in-hand.