Country Day has long been noted for the strength of its foreign language program. Exposure begins in PreKindergarten, and in First Grade, children choose either French or Spanish.
The foreign language department focuses on all four areas of language study: reading, speaking, listening, and writing at different intensities depending on the grade and age of the students.
In PreKindergarten through Second Grade children receive foreign language instruction four times a week for 20 minutes per class, and there is an emphasis on listening and speaking. In Third Grade, students meet for two 20-minute periods and one 45-minute period per week, and in Fourth Grade they attend foreign language classes three times a week with a 45-minute class period.
Starting in Fifth Grade, French or Spanish become a full academic subject, equally weighted and graded along with the other four academic subjects (English, Math, Science, Social Studies). Foreign language classes for Fifth-Eighth Graders meet five times a week (45 minutes per class). There is an increasing emphasis on all four areas of language as the students move up the grades. The overall goal of the department is to have the students proficient in their language of study upon graduating from Aspen Country Day.
One of the overarching themes is to prepare students to be responsible global citizens. We pursue an in-depth study of culture by exploring the history, geography and political elements of the various cultures. This is one important way ACDS prepares global citizens for engagement in a wider world beyond our valley. For example, a Spanish class in Middle School may turn into a headed discussion -- in Spanish -- of current topics in the media, such as immigration or elections. Children gain a greater understanding of global cultures and a more worldly perspective.