“In principium, verbum erat…” (John 1:1); “In the beginning, was the word…”
At St. Peter School, all students grades 2-8 receive some level of Latin instruction, while students in grades Pre-K through 1 receive Spanish instruction. St. Peter is one of the few local Catholic schools with a fully developed language program. As the English language features 50-60% of its words being derived from Latin, as well as its grammar conventions constructed in relation to Latin grammar, its study is very useful to the acquisition of broader ELA skills. Additionally, the orderly study of classical languages, such as Latin, is an excellent preparation the acquisition of multiple modern, living languages in the present age.
Grade two receives two days of Latin instruction per week, focusing primarily on the foundational studies of word roots and Latin prayers. Grade 3 receives two days of instruction per week; grade 4 three days of instruction per week. This two grade levels focus on expansion of Latin vocabulary and word roots and the foundational concepts of noun and verb attributes. Grades 5-8 receive four days of Latin instruction per week using a grammar based method that should culminate in basic reading proficiencies using simple texts by the end of 8th grade.
There are five key objectives of this program, all consistent with Diocesan guidelines, as well as state and national standards.
Enhance mastery of English grammar conventions by contrasting English with an inflected language (Latin is based on stems and endings rather than word order)
Cultivate a more rapid acquisition of English vocabulary; one Latin root word can easily have five or more English derivatives, making it a highly efficient way of acquiring English vocabulary
Enhance learning for English-Second Language Students. The emphasis on English grammar by contrast and English vocabulary acquisition greatly accelerates the rate at which Hispanics, in particular, can master the English language- but it also helps English students better understand Spanish vocabulary.
Lay a solid foundation for learning multiple languages; students who gain mastery of Latin will have easier access to several world languages through the study of only one language. This will help them master world languages more quickly in high school and college
Orient our curriculum to the liturgical life of the school; students will learn hymns and prayers in Latin, often in conjunction with music class, and so will develop a better appreciation of the Mass, its history, and will apply what they learn in the school Masses.