World Languages Overview: Little, Lower and Middle Schools


General Statement: Lincoln School recognizes that the ability to communicate in another language increases the opportunities to interact with other people and to understand other cultures, as well as to help to build knowledge and understanding of one’s own language and culture.

Early Childhood through Kindergarten: Emergent Languages

Inspired by how easily young children acquire language, the objectives of the Emergent Language Program revolve around children’s innate confidence to recognize and mimic sounds and language patterns. The children enrolled in Lincoln School’s Early Childhood and The Little School have instruction twice a week by a French teacher and twice a week by a Spanish teacher. The foreign language teachers speak the target language as they sing, do art projects, read books, play games, and participate in the daily life and activities of the class with the children. The teachers take the role of a member of the “family” who doesn’t necessarily speak English, but interacts with the children in a warm and playful way. They create a bond with the students which enables the young learners to take risks in using French and Spanish.

Lower School

Our main goals are to refine pronunciation through repetition and exposure to the specific sounds of the language, to gain cultural awareness about the people and places where the target language is spoken, and to reinforce the students’ knowledge of other subject areas, such as math and social studies, through integrated activities and tasks. Evidence of understanding is demonstrated by each individual's ability to complete a task at her own pace successfully rather than by grade level objectives.

In Grades 1 through 5 oral and aural communication are emphasized with a steady increase of exposure to the skills of reading and writing in the target language. To maintain these goals, there is no set curriculum per grade, but rather the teacher builds and expands the vocabulary, communicative functions and embedded structures in new contexts so that the students can reinforce their understanding of the target language while being presented with a variety of topics. 5th Graders will travel to the Middle School building for language classes and they will use the language lab in the Middle School building to reinforce their listening comprehension skills.

Middle School World Languages

All students in Grades 6–8 are required to take French or Spanish. Additionally, all Grade 7 and 8 students are required to take Latin I.

Note: New Grade 7 students may need summer tutoring to enter Grade 7 French or Spanish, based on prior experience. A placement test can be given.

New Grade 8 students with prior experience can take a placement test for Grade 8 French/Spanish (Level 2). Typically, we place new Grade 8 students in Latin 1 with Grade 9 students, so that they can complete the 1-year requirement in Middle School. Looking ahead, in Grade 9, students may sign up for the language of choice. 

Spanish or French

In Grades 6–8, students complete the standard North American French/Spanish I and II curriculum (ACTFL). Middle school French and Spanish take students on an exciting trip to new cultures while introducing them to basic grammar, language functions and everyday vocabulary which are consistently interwoven with major cultural themes. Individual and collaborative activities provide ample opportunity for the students to develop and use the language creatively and personally. Once a week the students visit the language lab to reinforce their listening comprehension skills. Evaluation of student performance is based on participation and on frequent skills testing (listening, speaking, reading and writing) throughout the year. Each year builds upon the other, allowing students to reinforce the old and incorporate the new. In the spring, students compete in the National French/Spanish Exam, which measures performance and achievement.


In Grades 7 and 8 students complete the standard North American Latin I curriculum. This curriculum introduces students to the core elements of the Latin language: the six tenses of the verb, the five noun declensions, and hundreds of Latin vocabulary items. Students also study Roman culture and civilization and the role Roman culture has played and continues to play in shaping the modern world. In the spring, students compete in the National Latin Exam, which measures performance and achievement.