There are two main reasons behind the introduction of a second/foreign language (i.e., Spanish) in primary classrooms. The first is the belief that ‘the younger the better’, the idea that young children are intrinsically better language learners, and will therefore become more proficient more quickly. The second is that, in an increasingly globalized world, intercultural competence is essential, and that it is important to awaken children’s interests in other people and cultures at a time when they are open and receptive. Additionally, early exposure to a rich language environment is critical for English Language Learners’ (ELL) academic success. More recent findings are based on the cognitive advantages that learning a second/foreign language or languages promotes enhanced problem-solving, attentional control or ability to switch tasks, and the claim that it facilitates literacy in English.
Spanish as a Second/Foreign Language
The Spanish Language at CEA offers a continuum of instruction from the early years (3-year olds) through 8th grade (14-year olds). The program utilizes “best practices” methodologies to ensure that students throughout the school become competent listeners, speakers, readers, and writers of Spanish. In addition, linguistic competence must include the ability to function in the two cultures with equal ease.
For over 17 years, CEA has and continues to benefit from a collaborative relationship with Spain’s Ministerio de Educación y Formación Profesional (enlace). Each year “Auxiliares de Conversación” travel from Spain to work with the Academy’s existing Spanish language faculty, aiding and enhancing the program’s efforts to become truly bilingual.
Spanish as a Second Language (ELE)
Conchita Espinosa Academy (CEA) opens in the United States in 1963. Exile caused a flow of people who had Spanish as their mother tongue. However, since 2000, the teaching of Spanish changes from being a mother tongue to being a foreign/second language (ELE). In other words, CEA starts teaching Spanish as a foreign language on purpose, being the main aim to keep and develop the methodology under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR, o MCER in Spanish) standard, which measures the comprehension, written and oral expression level of a learner of a language.
As we continue our efforts and commitment to teaching and developing the Spanish as a Foreign Language, some CEA´s teachers have already finished with success the training courses to be official examiners for administrating the DELE exams in the levels A1 Schooler and A2/B1 Schooler. The DELE Schooler training courses were undertaken by the Instituto Cervantes of Albuquerque, in United States. Our aim is to become center DELE in order to provide:
• International recognition diplomas in Spanish to our students
• Promotion of academic programs across an international network
The Spanish language program is an integral and required part of the academic curriculum at CEA. All students of the Academy are scheduled for their classes and there is no additional cost for participation in the program.
French Language Program
As a part of CEA’s commitment, growth and vision to prepare our students to be global citizens, CEA has extended the Language program to include French. The French Language program is an after-school program designed for students in 3rd through 8th grades who have demonstrated a high proficiency and competence in Spanish. Classes are held twice a week, and are limited to a maximum of ten students per class.