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As part of the district’s FLEX (Foreign Language Experience) program, Bayport-Blue Point elementary school students are given the unique opportunity to study another language at an early age. During the course of the 10-session program, third- through fifth-graders begin to learn common Spanish phrases and develop an understanding of Spanish-speaking cultures. Fifth-grade students using Rosetta Stone language immersion software also have the opportunity to learn some beginner’s French.

There are added benefits to the linguistic ones commonly associated with the study of a foreign language. As FLEX teacher Sally Miller explained, “For a condensed, introductory program such as the one we have in the district, studies show that early exposure to another language positively influences students’ perceptions of other cultures and their willingness to accept and learn about other places.” She further noted, “By the time the students enter middle school, they have a fair amount of experience with the basics of these languages, and it often helps them decide which program to continue in the secondary schools.”

In the early grades, the students learn basic communication phrases such as certain foods and how to say their name. These introductory lessons are in close connection with their social studies curriculum, which includes Mexico and various other cultural studies. Fourth-graders continue to build upon this foundation by learning how to describe themselves and their likes and dislikes, while fifth-graders conclude the program by writing a descriptive “Who am I?” essay that they share aloud with the class.

This March, as a conclusion to their study, the fourth-grade students at Sylvan Avenue Elementary School created a puppet show for their classmates. Working in pairs, the students created a dialogue script that they acted out using colorful puppets. Each pair incorporated the various vocabulary words they had been studying, including numbers, sports and emotions. It was a perfect opportunity for them to practice their speaking and listening comprehension skills. 
Bayport-Blue Point Eagle