The study of foreign language has always been a prominent focus at Canterbury School. The foreign language teachers in each school division work with the next to ensure the transition from each grade level and division to the next is a seamless journey for students.
All Lower School students take French class from Kindergarten through Grade 2. (French instruction actually begins at age 3 in the Early Childhood program.) In grades 3-4 the students may choose to continue with French or begin instruction in Spanish. Both languages are taught all four years of Middle School and students may add a second language of Latin or Mandarin Chinese in grades 7/8. At least three years of foreign language is required in High School, which also includes Japanese. Students have the option to continue on in taking Advanced Placement courses.
With time on their side, students who begin learning a second or third language at an earlier age have a chance to achieve proficiency. Students are given the vocabulary and basic syntax necessary to communicate about their lives, family, school, personalities, food, sports, community, health, clothes, seasons and much more.
The teacher speaks the language in the classroom about 90 percent of the time. Through the use of props, visuals, picture books and songs with movement and role playing, the students experience the language in context. The students also are exposed to the culture of the language including art, music, history and patterns of everyday life.