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Exposure to other languages and cultures is an integral piece of the multicultural practice at Gordon. Spanish language and cultural instruction begins in Kindergarten. The Spanish teacher works with classroom teachers to integrate basic vocabulary into the curriculum.

Activities range from cooking, playing games, singing and sharing in morning circle to performing plays, reading and illustrating poems and stories during writers’ workshop. This approach provides natural conversations and interactions in Spanish, which allow children to gain an ear for the language.

Spanish instruction continues through Lower School with activities in first and fourth grades that expose students to culture and literature along with basic vocabulary and expressions in the language. In order to best serve the needs of all students in Lower School, we also offer a heritage speaker class for those students who speak Spanish at home. Classrooms are welcoming environments with stories, illustrations and word walls created by the students in Spanish.

Students also have opportunities to practice their Spanish, from making piñatas to singing and playing music in their performing and visual art classes. Students often hear their teachers communicating in Spanish with each other, and learn first hand from Spanish speakers from both within and outside of the Gordon community.

In Middle School, students have the option to choose French in sixth grade or continue with Spanish through eighth grade. Students study the cultures, languages and perspectives of the French/Spanish speaking worlds through the lens of social justice. Such topics include urban community gardens, environmental racism, fair trade, immigration and human rights. Through active communicative activities, reading, role-play and debate, writing and working with local non-profit organizations, students develop both a cultural and linguistic proficiency necessary to communicate effectively in the language with others. Upon completion of eighth grade, students will have attained intermediate level-low/mid, according to the ACTFL proficiency guidelines [www.actfl.org], in preparation for a level two course in high school.


The Joukowsky Family Library has a broad selection of bilingual and multicultural books in many languages other than English. ML faculty also encourage their students and families to participate in local community events as a way for students to experience multiple perspectives and cultures.

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