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Curriculum comparisons of Panama City, FL area preschools and elementary schools

PRESCHOOLS (in order of amount of foreign language instruction)

Panama City Renaissance School Special curriculum designed for preschool children learning multiple languages with a focus on FUN! English: Saxon Phonics and Spelling for beginning reading, writing and spelling; Math: number identification and number order through 100, basic geometric shapes; Science: basic concepts about how the world works; Foreign languages: Mandarin Chinese (10 hours per week), Spanish (5 hours per week); Motor Skills: activities to help with development of fine and gross motor skills; Interpersonal skills: activities that teach children how to interact with other children and adults; Life skills: how to care for yourself and your things; Arts: daily visual and performing arts. By the time the children finish preschool they are reading, writing and spelling in English and have the math skills to begin addition and subtraction. In addition, they can converse in Mandarin Chinese and Spanish and can read basic characters in Mandarin Chinese. See the write-up about the PCRS curriculum on the 2 Million Minutes blog.

Panama City Beach Academy High Scope Educational Research Foundation curriculum, Foreign language:Spanish (1.25 hour per week)

Covenant Christian Five in a Row curriculum, Animal Alphabet curriculum, Foreign language: Spanish (1 hour per week)

South Walton Montessori Academy Montessori Curriculum, Foreign languages: Spanish and French (30 minutes per week)

First United Methodist Church Wee Learn Curriculum and Kindergarten Readiness, Foreign languages: None

Grace Presbyterian Preschool Wee Learn Curriculum, Foreign languages: None

Gulf Beach Baptist Wee Learn and Pray and Praise Curricula, A Beka Curriculum, Foreign languages: None

Holy Nativity Episcopal School English: ABC Sing-Along Flip Chart and Audiotape, Math Their Way, Foreign languages: None

Little Lambs Preschool Wee Learn, A Beka and Links to Literacy Curricula, Foreign languages: None

Primary Prep The Creative Curriculum for Preschool, own curriculum, Foreign languages: None

St. Bernadette Child Development Academy Unknown, Foreign languages: None

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS (in order of amount of foreign language instruction)

Panama City Renaissance School Foreign Language Immersion Program Math: Singapore and Miquon Mathematics including supplemental material with strong emphasis on algebra; Science: International Renaissance Schools Curriculum that covers engineering and a broad spectrum of science areas as well as Real Science for Kids; English: Saxon Phonics and Spelling, modified Sonlight Language Arts Curriculum (grammar, literature, writing), Wordly Wise, Spelling Power, Real Science for Kids Links to Language; History: Modified Sonlight History Curriculum (US, Eastern Hemisphere, Ancient Egypt through the Reformation); Creativity: International Renaissance Schools Curriculum  Foreign languages: Mandarin Chinese – Stanford Chinese School curriculum (18.75 hours per week), Spanish – Sube and Mexican government curriculum (5 hours per week); Geography: International Renaissance curriculum (all countries and continents) and Sonlight Curriculum; Arts: visual and performing arts; Physical Education: variety of activities from different countries; Community Service: varies depending of community needs. By the end of elementary school the children can communicate well (reading, writing and speaking) in Mandarin Chinese and can communicate well in Spanish (reading, writing and speaking). In addition, the students have an advanced understanding of math, English, science, history and geography. See the write-up about the PCRS curriculum on the 2 Million Minutes blog.

Panama City Renaissance School Standard Program Math: Singapore and Miquon Mathematics including supplemental materials with a strong emphasis on algebra; Science: International Renaissance Schools Curriculum that covers engineering and a broad spectrum of science area as well as Real Science for Kids; English: Saxon Phonics and Spelling, modified Sonlight Language Arts Curriculum (grammar, literature, writing), Wordly Wise, Spelling Power, Real Science for Kids Links to Language; History: Modified Sonlight History Curriculum (US, Eastern Hemisphere, Ancient Egypt through the Reformation); Creativity: International Renaissance Schools Curriculum; Foreign languages: Mandarin Chinese – Stanford Chinese School curriculum (5 hours per week), Spanish – Sube and Mexican government curriculum (5 hours per week); Geography: Sonlight Curriculum; Arts: visual and performing arts; Physical Education: variety of activities from different countries; Community Service: varies depending of community needs. By the end of elementary school the children can communicate well (reading, writing and speaking) in Mandarin Chinese and can communicate well in Spanish (reading, writing and speaking). In addition, the students have an advanced understanding of math, English, science, history and geography. See the write-up about the PCRS curriculum on the 2 Million Minutes blog.

Panama City Advanced School Florida Department of Education materials and Islamic studies materials. Foreign language: Arabic (5 hours per week)

Covenant Christian English: Riggs Reading, Shirley Grammar History: Veritas Curriculum (3.75 hours per week – Ancient Egypt through the Middle Ages); Creativity: None Math: Singapore Math – standard curriculum (3.75 hours per week); Science: CSI (3.75 hours per week); Foreign language: Latin (3.75 hours per week) for 2nd – 5th grade only; Geography: unknown; Arts: unknown Community Service: unknown.

St. John Catholic School English: Harcourt and Storytown History: unknown; Creativity: none Math: unknown; Science: unknown; Foreign languages: Mandarin Chinese and Spanish (Mandarin Chinese 1.5 – 2 hours per week grades K – 4th only, Spanish – 1 hour per week in after school program); Geography: unknown; Arts: unknown Community Service: unknown

Holy Nativity Episcopal School English: Harcourt and Saxon Phonics; History: Harcourt Brace Social Studies Curriculum; Creativity:none Math: Saxon Math; Science: Harcourt Science and Ranger Rick; Foreign languages: Spanish (1 hour per week); Geography: part of history; Arts: Unknown Community Service: None

Bay Haven Charter Academy English: Open Court and Zanner-Blosser Handwriting; History: Harcourt Brace Social Studies Curriculum; Creativity: none Math: Sadlier Oxford; Science: Harcourt Science; Foreign languages:none; Geography: part of history; Arts: unknown Community Service: None

Bay Haven North Charter Academy English: Open Court and Zanner-Blosser Handwriting; History: Harcourt Brace Social Studies Curriculum; Creativity: none Math: Sadlier Oxford; Science: Harcourt Science; Foreign languages: None; Geography: part of history; Arts: unknown Community Service: none

Patronis Elementary School English: Harcourt; History: Harcourt Social Studies Curriculum (3.3 hours per week); Creativity: none Math: Saxon Math (5 hours per week); Science: Harcourt Science (2.5 hours per week); Foreign languages: None; Geography: part of history; Arts: Unknown Community Service: None

South Walton Montessori Academy Montessori model. Amount of time spent on subjects depends on child. Move at your own pace. Math, science, language arts taught.

Disclaimer: The information provided is based on the best available information as of 11/21/2010. If you have more up to date details, please contact 850-215-8712 and we would be happy to update the information.

Comparison of preschool, elementary & middle school foreign language programs in the Panama City, Florida area

PRESCHOOLS (in order of amount of foreign language instruction)

Panama City Renaissance School Foreign languages: Mandarin Chinese and Spanish; Duration of instruction: Mandarin Chinese – 10 hours per week, Spanish – 3.75 hour per week;Teacher language background: Mandarin Chinese teacher native speaker of Mandarin Chinese, Spanish teacher native speaker of Spanish

Panama City Beach Academy Foreign language: Spanish (a very small amount of sign language), Duration of instruction: Spanish – 1.25 hour per week, Teacher language background: native English speaker with basic training in Spanish

Covenant Christian Foreign language: Spanish, Duration of instruction: 45 minutes per week, Teacher language background: Unknown

South Walton Montessori Academy Foreign languages: Spanish and French Duration of instruction: 30 minutes per week, Teacher language background: native English speakers with basic training in languages

First United Methodist Church Foreign languages: None

Grace Presbyterian Preschool Foreign languages: None

Gulf Beach Baptist Foreign languages: None

Holy Nativity Episcopal School English: Foreign languages: None

Little Lambs Preschool Foreign languages: None

Primary Prep Foreign languages: None

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS (in order of amount of foreign language instruction)

Panama City Renaissance School Foreign Language Immersion Program Foreign languages: Mandarin Chinese and Spanish; Duration of instruction: Mandarin Chinese – 18.75 hours per week, Spanish – 5 hour per week (grades 1-5); Teacher language background: Mandarin Chinese teacher native speaker of Mandarin Chinese, Spanish teacher native speaker of Spanish

Panama City Renaissance School Standard Program Foreign languages: Mandarin Chinese and Spanish; Duration of instruction: Mandarin Chinese – 5 hours per week, Spanish – 5 hour per week (grades 1-5); Teacher language background: Mandarin Chinese teacher native speaker of Mandarin Chinese, Spanish teacher native speaker of Spanish

Panama City Advanced School Foreign language: Arabic, Duration of instruction: 5 hours per week, Teacher language background: Unknown

Covenant Christian Foreign language: Latin, Duration of instruction: 3.75 hours per week, Teacher language background: Unknown

St. John Catholic School Foreign languages: Mandarin Chinese and Spanish; Duration of instruction: Mandarin Chinese – 1.5 hours per week (grades K – 3rd only), Spanish – 45 minutes per week (only for after school students); Teacher language background: Mandarin Chinese teacher is a native Cantonese speaker (click here for information on the differences between Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese), Spanish teacher is a native Spanish speaker

South Walton Montessori Academy Foreign languages: Spanish and French, Duration of instruction: 30 minutes per week, Teacher language background: Unknown

Holy Nativity Episcopal School Foreign languages: Spanish, Duration of instruction: 1 hour per week, Teacher language background: Native English speaker with some background in Spanish

Bay Haven Charter Academy Foreign languages: None

Patronis Elementary School Foreign languages: None

MIDDLE SCHOOLS (in order of amount of foreign language instruction)

Panama City Renaissance School Foreign Language Immersion Program (beginning fall 2011) Foreign languages: Mandarin Chinese and Spanish; Duration of instruction: Mandarin Chinese – 18.75 hours per week, Spanish – 5 hour per week; Teacher language background: Mandarin Chinese teacher native speaker of Mandarin Chinese, Spanish teacher native speaker of Spanish

Panama City Renaissance School Standard Program (beginning fall 2010)Foreign languages: Mandarin Chinese and Spanish; Duration of instruction: Mandarin Chinese – 5 hours per week, Spanish – 5 hour per week ;Teacher language background: Mandarin Chinese teacher native speaker of Mandarin Chinese, Spanish teacher native speaker of Spanish

Panama City Advanced School Foreign language: Arabic, Duration of instruction: 5 hours per week, Teacher language background:Unknown

Covenant Christian Foreign languages: Latin, Duration of instruction: 3.75 hours per week, Teacher language background:Unknown

Bay Haven Charter Academy Foreign languages: Spanish, Duration of instruction: equivalent of approximately 1 hour per week for the school year (4.33 hours per week for 9 weeks), Teacher language background: Unknown

Surfside Middle School Foreign languages: Foreign languages: Spanish, Duration of instruction: equivalent of approximately 1 hour per week for the school year (4.33 hours per week for 9 weeks), Teacher language background: Unknown

St. John Catholic School Foreign languages: None

Disclaimer: The information provided is based on the best available information as of 1/10/2010. If you have more up to date details, please contact 850-215-8712 and we would be happy to update the information.

Why children need to learn foreign languages

Outside the Box – Juliann Talkington

Juliann TalkingtonCognitive Advantages: Foreign languages in general – According to Therese Caccavale, Past President of the National Network for Early Language Learning, “Children who learn a foreign language beginning in early childhood demonstrate certain cognitive advantages over children who do not. Studies have shown repeatedly that foreign language learning increases critical thinking skills, creativity, and flexibility of mind in young children. Students who are learning a foreign language out-score their non-foreign language learning peers in the verbal and . . . math sections of standardized tests.”

Mandarin Chinese – According to Dr. Sophie Scott, a researcher at Wellcome Trust (the largest non-profit in Britain, an organization that focuses on biomedical research), Mandarin Chinese speakers use both the right and left brain lobes when hearing their native language while native English speakers only use their left temporal lobe when hearing English. The left temporal lobe is normally associated with piecing sounds together and the right temporal lobe with processing melody and intonation. “It is not easy to test whether Mandarin speakers have other gifts that set them apart from English speakers, but there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that it may relate to how thought processes operate, according to Scott” (Mandarin Chinese use more of their brain than English speakers to understand language). The study suggests that learning Mandarin Chinese itself may affect the way a child’s brain develops.

Academic Performance: In its 1992 report, College Bound Seniors: The 1992 Profile of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, the College Entrance Examination Board reported that “students who averaged 4 or more years of foreign language study scored higher on the verbal section of the SAT than those who had studied 4 or more years in any other subject area. This finding echoes many experts’ belief that learning a second language can improve not only a child’s aptitude in English, but also enhance creativity and problem-solving skills.” (from the Chinese Language School of Connecticut)

Opportunity: Mandarin Chinese – Mandarin Chinese is spoken by almost one out of every four people on the planet. As China grows in political and economic importance, it is critical that US citizens learn to communicate in Mandarin Chinese and become familiar with the Chinese culture.

Spanish – Spanish is spoken by 500 million people worldwide and by about 50% of the people in the Western Hemisphere. Spanish is also becoming the language of choice in Europe.

Best time to learn: Experts believe that the earlier a child is introduced to a language the greater the likelihood they will become truly proficient.

Learning basic skills, such as language and music, become much more difficult with age.  According to Florida State University professor Dr. Karen Glendenning in her book Brain, Behavior and Learning, “After birth there are continuing changes in the brain.  For example, cell populations in the language area, may decrease by 30 percent between the ages of 2 months and 12 years….”

According to Dr. Lise Elliott with the Chicago School of Medicine, ” We know…. that an infant’s experience can have permanent effects on the wiring of the brain.” At birth the brain contains the cells necessary to handle trillions of processes.  If signals are sent between brain cells, the connections become hard-wired.  However, if signals are not sent between cells, the connections are discarded.  Most researchers believe the hard-wiring/discarding process is complete at the beginning of puberty, leaving adults with many fewer brain connections than infants.

According to the Abroad Language Institute, “The best time for language acquisition is during early childhood…. Young children learn languages naturally by building a second language system alongside their first language; and by absorbing sounds, intonation patterns, structures, and rules of a second language intuitively…. Young brains are inherently flexible and are uniquely wired to acquire languages naturally.”

Types of programs: Foreign language programs for children vary in structure and outcome. At one end of the spectrum are language immersion programs, where more than 50% of the instruction is in the foreign language. At the other end are foreign language experience programs, where classes meet for an hour or less several times a week. The goal of the experience programs is not to develop language proficiency, but to introduce children to foreign languages and cultures. Children in immersion programs experience the most cognitive benefit from the foreign language study and also have the ability to speak the foreign language without an accent.