The Independent Day School
115 Laurel Brook Road, Middlefield, CT  06455
 Students at IDS learn through hands-on activities.
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Meet Adrienne Milner,
IDS's New Elementary
World Language Teacher
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 for all.
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 ability.
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 school.
~Adrienne E. Milner
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