Foreign Language

Enjoying a French breakfast, celebrating Mexican Independence Day, building a castle or researching famous French, Chinese, and Spanish biographies -- these are just some of the ways students learn about new languages and cultures in ACDS foreign language courses. Our students delight in broadening their world views and developing their language skills in culturally relevant and engaging ways.

ACDS offers classes in French, Spanish, and Mandarin, beginning with French in second grade and adding Spanish and Mandarin electives in middle school. Unlike language immersion schools, the objective of our foreign language  program isn’t to develop fluent French, Spanish, and Mandarin speakers. Rather, foreign language at ACDS is intended to:

  • Expand the children’s global horizons and spark their curiosity by introducing them to other countries and cultures;

  • Introduce students to new language structures, which activate important neurodevelopmental processes during their formative years -- in the “window of opportunity” that will help prepare children for advanced language studies in high school;

  • Foster an appreciation for the world beyond their immediate experience, and spark a lifelong interest in pursuing a foreign language.

Our foreign language teachers use a variety of instructional methods, including project- and activity-based lessons, to incorporate vocabulary, culture, geography, music, cuisine, art, and history to make foreign languages stimulating and fun.

Middle School: French, Spanish and Mandarin

Many of our students opt to continue foreign language studies in our middle school elective program, where they can choose to take French, Spanish, or Mandarin, meeting three times per week.

Our middle school curriculum includes some of the content found in high school “conversational” and introductory French, Spanish, and Mandarin classes. These popular elective classes comprise approximately half the instructional time covered in high school language courses, so they aren’t intended to be equivalent; while each year some of our students place into advanced foreign language classes in high school, this is not among the goals of our program.

Instead, our teachers focus on building enthusiasm, curiosity, and interest in learning Mandarin, Spanish, and French in middle school and beyond. Foreign language studies at ACDS set a foundation to help our students thrive in high school and college language studies, while exploring a world they begin to realize is much broader than the Almaden Valley!

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