How do we teach languages at St. Mary and St Margaret’s?
As children move into Key stage 2, they are introduced to Latin following the Minimus scheme of work, implemented by Classics for All at Oxford University. Our intent for the teaching of Latin is to teach children in a rich, balanced and progressive curriculum, using Latin to support vocabulary development, a deeper understanding of grammatical structures in English and foreign languages and for children to investigate the derivatives of language alongside historical stories.
National Curriculum Key Stage 2
By the end of Key Stage 2 pupils should be able to:
• listen attentively to spoken language and show understanding by joining in and responding
• explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs and rhymes and link the spelling, sound and meaning of words
• engage in conversations; ask and answer questions; express opinions and respond to those of others; seek clarification and help
• speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary, phrases and basic language structures
• develop accurate pronunciation and intonation so that others understand when they are reading aloud or using familiar words and phrases
• present ideas and information orally to a range of audiences
• read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and simple writing
• appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language
• broaden their vocabulary and develop their ability to understand new words that are introduced into familiar written material, including through using a dictionary
• write phrases from memory, and adapt these to create new sentences, to express ideas clearly
• describe people, places, things and actions orally and in writing
At St Mary and St Margaret’s the decision to teach Latin, rather than a Modern Foreign Language, was informed by the following:
• Latin provides insight into the structure and grammar of English and other modern European languages
- parts of speech – identification and function of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions
- nouns having genders
- adjectives agreeing with them
- different word order
- more complex conjugation of verbs
- singular & plural “you”
- seeing links between different languages
• Latin extends English vocabulary and develops spelling patterns
- understanding of words with Latin roots, providing support for spelling of English words derived from Latin
• Prepares for MFL
• In addition, Latin provides development of Historic and General Knowledge and also explores ‘big questions’ such as the concept of slavery and the role of ‘Gods’.
This is the linguistic knowledge that the children should cover over their time with us, building on their skills each year. It has been split into four strands:
• Reading and responding
Why is Latin right for children at St. Mary and St Margaret’s?
Enhancing children’s vocabulary and promoting a love of reading and language is at the heart of everything we do. Latin is a natural fit for our vision of building knowledge for long term learning in a range of subjects. We teach concepts like ‘democracy’ and ‘monarchy’ in history but we need to do even more to help our pupils make meaningful, rich connections between those words. When pupils are making connections between the root or roots of a word they are creating a larger picture of meaning. In doing this, they are making links to the long-term memory. In this way they will know more and remember more.
As a staff we believe that we should be capitalising more in our pupils’ interest in and playfulness with big words. We believe that we should be talking to them more about where words they came from and also the roots of the words, which are usually from Latin and Greek.
Since Latin lies at the root of 60% of English words, studying it has a beneficial impact on development of English vocabulary across a range of subjects – such as science, geography and history – and language skills in general.