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Making Spanish fun

by Michron Robinson

St. Silas students dancing to Waka Waka, a song by Columbian singer Shakira.

St. Silas students dancing to Waka Waka, a song by Columbian singer Shakira.

A rural St. James primary school was today filled with exciting Spanish singing, dancing and drama.

This was when the St. Silas Primary School in Orange Hill held its annual Spanish Day titled, “Speaking Spanish is Fun!”

When Teachers Pet arrived at the school, Spanish prayers were already in progress. The day was dedicated to allowing the children to showcase what they had learnt the entire school year.

Principal of the school, Eugene Eastmond, said that at St. Silas Primary one of the main aims was to train the students for life and one way of achieving that was introducing them to a second language.

“Seeing that I have been travelling a lot, I see the necessity to train our children in a second language,” she added, “so that when they get the opportunity to travel they would be able to cope with another language from a [different] country.”

Eastmond said her pupils were very excited about the Spanish programme at the school, adding that sometimes at random moments she would hear the students singing Spanish songs.

Some of those songs were performed today by both the St. Silas Primary and D Pearl’s Day Care Pre-School located in Codrington Hill, St. Michael. The toddlers who visited the school from their day nursery ranged in age from three to four years and they appeared to impress the audience, based on the shouting and cheering that came from the watching teachers and fellow pupils. The tiny tots counted from one to 50, recited the days of the week and sang songs, all in Spanish.

Spanish coordinator of the day care centre, Dorothea Alleyne, said she saw it as necessary for the students to have the knowledge of a second language.

“The level is very high [in terms of the student’s interest in Spanish] because as they are so young their brains are like sponges and they are very responsive,” she added.

Spanish Coordinator of the St. Silas Primary School, Engrid Griffith, said having an entire day dedicated to Spanish was to expose the students and allow them to showcase what they had learnt.

Griffith explained: “We get to enjoy another culture because we try to do different things around the language. We are cooking Spanish food, we do different Spanish songs and dance, so it exposes children to the culture and the dance.”

The food provided, Griffith said, included Spanish omelets and rice and chicken.

The Spanish coordinator added that she wanted to see the programme at the school reached the level where students could travel to a Spanish-speaking country to be immersed in the culture.

Griffith noted that some of the negatives to the learning of the foreign language surrounded the support of parents and the belief by some that it was unimportant.

The entire student body however showed their interest by participating in the quizzes of the day and cheering on the salsa dancing by two Cuban visitors, Frederico Weeks and Yaima Payne.

Spanish Day ended with a dance by teachers and class four pupils, and the principal even shook a leg along with some of her teaching staff.

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