Exploring identity in Heritage Language and the Spanish Language Arts Strand
Gordon has two programs for students who speak Spanish at home: Heritage Language, which meets once a week in Nursery to fourth grade, and the Spanish Language Arts Strand, a daily class in Middle School.
In the youngest grades, Heritage Language is all about students connecting with one another, and discovering the roots of that connection.
Under a tree today, the Early Childhood Heritage Language students sang greetings.
They pantomimed feelings.
Some began con un poquito de miedo
O un poco tristes.
After twenty minutes, they were warming up, and ready to talk about el próximo miércoles.
Next week's lesson, cuando they would all share photos of the people in their family who speak español.
They were even ready to gently tease their teacher, who looked a little ridiculo dressed up for Middle School's backwards day.
In the months ahead, they will sing more songs and hear more stories.
They will learn - and teach - new games en español.
In the coming years, when they reach Lower School, these students will expand their vocabularies, and explore the differences between their own stories and cultures.
They will be able to talk about history and politics at a new level.
And in Middle School's Spanish Language Arts Strand, they will dive deeper into literature, and the written word.
They will be ready to talk, in Spanish, about la diferencia entre Latino e hispano, about the way the US census handles race and Hispanic identity, and about their shared experience of being un otro.
But for the three, four and five-year-olds of Gordon's Spanish-speaking community, today's lesson is where it begins,
...as they build their relationship with their teacher and with each other...
and learn to bring their full, authentic selves into the classroom.