I was living and teaching in Canada, when
I learned about The Independent Day School and its intention to
implement an elementary World Language Program. Recently returning
from teaching in Hong Kong, I was seeking another adventure. I was
familiar with Connecticut because my grandparents, and now my
parents, had always kept a family home in Hampton and I loved the
area. I pursued teaching at the school with interest fueled by
curiosity. After my first phone call with Rae-ann Kershnar and
Bonnie Laserna, I was impressed by the strength of their vision
and commitment to the idea of a new language program. Within days,
I made my first visit to the IDS campus. This visit convinced me
wholeheartedly to become a working member of this dynamic school.
I knew the experience of being part of the team would help me grow
both professionally and personally. I applied for the position to
begin the program and was delighted to be hired.
The friendliness and professionalism of
the administrators, staff and the happiness of the students, as
well as the atmosphere of the school, are unparalleled in any
country or institution in which I have had the pleasure to teach.
I know full well that my own experience is limited in comparison
to some, but I do not hesitate to say that IDS is a unique school.
We are now a portion of the way through
our first year of the new World Language Program and the
experience is proving to be extremely rewarding. In grade six, the
students have risen to the challenge of learning French for the
first time. Although the program begins with simple conversation
skills and grammar, the students will begin to read and write
French by the conclusion of the year, a difficult task for
first-year second language learners.
In grades two through five, the program
emphasizes oral expression and the introduction of a new culture.
Some parents may have enjoyed "Les Trois Petit Cochons". This was
grade five's first French production. Grade four will shortly put
on their own French skit. They have been singing many French songs
and learning about the seasonal traditions of France and Quebec,
Canada. In grade three, we will be corresponding with French
immersion students in Canada who attend the school where I
previously taught. Grade two has just performed several of the
French songs that they mastered at the Intermediate School Share.
They did an exceptional job and the experience was very positive
In kindergarten and grade one the
children have recently been working on the Spanish vocabulary for
shapes. They have been making Aztec masks to reinforce these new
Spanish words. They have also been singing various Spanish songs
and puppets have been used to enhance their second language
As you can see, we are having a busy
time, with lots of fun. As the students continue to progress, the
program will expand to meet their group and individual needs. The
idea is to make language learning an enjoyable, spirited
experience so that each of them will want to continue and learn
more about their second language.
The World Language Program at the school
is in its infancy and I am very proud to be a part of its planning
and implementation. This is a dynamic time for the program and so
changes will be made to improve what has begun this year. What
will remain constant is the knowledge that we need to expose
children to other languages and cultures in order to give them the
ability to bridge the gap and appreciate other societies in an
ever-shrinking world. It's a thrill to now walk through the halls
of IDS and have children speak to me in their second language and
have parents tell me that their older children are sharing their
language experience with their younger siblings. This is the
ripple effect of constructive learning at an effective, happy
~Adrienne E. Milner