Princeton Friends School is committed to educating its students for global citizenship, and world language study is integral to that mission. Studying the language and culture of other countries gives PFS students a broad understanding, appreciation, and acceptance of the world and of the differences that exist among peoples and nations. Early exposure to world languages, combined with ongoing and explicit opportunities for students to experience the rich ethnic and cultural diversity of our immediate school community, encourages them to engage with the world in powerful ways.
Recognizing that the young mind is most open to learning new languages, PFS offers both Spanish and Chinese language study beginning in pre-kindergarten. All students in pre-K through 2nd grade are exposed to Spanish and Chinese once a week. At the primary level, instruction is primarily oral and visual with an emphasis on exposure, comfort, and familiarity. Songs, rhymes, stories, games, and simple dialogues introduce vocabulary and syntax. As children mature and their abilities to read and write gradually develop, the use of correct grammar and pronunciation become expectations.
Throughout the grades, language instruction is enriched by activities that facilitate cultural awareness – whether observing specific holidays (the Day of the Dead or the Chinese Autumn Festival, for example), cooking or feasting on traditional foods, hearing folktales, or observing or practicing traditional dance or crafts. The Chinese and Spanish language programs are showcased within the school community on two occasions – Chinese New Year and the Mexican Cinco de Mayo – when students exhibit their language proficiency through recitations, skits, and other performances. These celebrations also include buffet lunches and (periodically) exhibitions of traditional folk arts.