The Global Languages program at The IDEAL School expands student horizons and prepares students to be effective global citizens by exposing them to languages and cultures other than American English. Early introduction of global languages encourages students to learn more readily, promotes cultural competence, and extends appreciation for cultural diversity. Students work toward increased oral and written proficiency and fluency, becoming linguistically and culturally equipped to communicate in one or more of the languages offered.
All Lower School students study both both Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL) and some study Mandarin after school in a less formal setting. Middle and High School students generally select one global language from Spanish, Mandarin, or ASL on which to focus and may continue in this language through their years at IDEAL. In keeping with the school’s commitment to differentiated instruction, language classes incorporate flexible groupings, opportunities to focus on different areas of interest, and a variety of projects to display understanding.
Appreciation for global languages is also infused throughout IDEAL’s creative arts program. For example, Mandarin class may be integrated with an art class by teaching students calligraphy, and dance is used to teach the Spanish alphabet by integrating music and movement into the lesson. Periodically, students whose primary language is ASL, Spanish, or Mandarin are invited to support the classroom teacher. By doing this, self-esteem and leadership skills are promoted and students can take pride in their culture.
Students in both the Lower and Upper Schools learn and perform songs or poems in Spanish, Mandarin, and ASL. This multidimensional approach to language acquisition and proficiency often results in a deeper level of proficiency than traditional foreign language class structures.