K-8 EXCELLENCE SINCE 1973
2027 7th Street, Berkeley, CA 94710 (map) • 510‑845‑0876

Spanish & Mandarin

Bringing Languages to Life with Movement & the Arts

Starting in kindergarten, all students learn Spanish.

Spanish Art Project

Spanish language instruction begins with exposure in kindergarten and first grade, and deepens through the grades, applying a lively and engaging approach called TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling). Great for all kinds of learners, TPRS employs storytelling, movement, personalized questions, skits, songs, games, and art projects.

Each year, more of the class time is conducted in Spanish as students develop their conversational skills and explore the diversity of Spanish-speaking cultures. We are fortunate to have two native speakers (from Mexico and Columbia) in the upper school who bring their understanding of Central and South American cultures to everyday classroom activities. A two-week Spanish language immersion experience in Costa Rica is an option for our eighth grade students.

Beginning in sixth grade, students choose to study either Mandarin or Spanish.

Mandarin is offered beginning in sixth grade and students choose to study either Mandarin or Spanish during middle school. The course helps students build a solid foundation in basic listening, speaking, reading, writing comprehension skills in modern Mandarin. Students develop their understanding of both Mandarin language and Chinese culture through stories, songs, tongue twisters, chants, plays, and poems. Our teacher, who is a native of Beijing, uses a variety of teaching approaches, including TPRS (see above). Students participate in hands-on activities, such as creating Chinese food recipes, comic strips, posters, charts, or acting out stories in addition to learning simplified Chinese characters used in mainland China. A ten-day language immersion experience in China is an option for seventh and eighth Mandarin students.

Both our Spanish and Mandarin programs thoroughly prepare our students for high school placement tests.

Spanish and Mandarin Faculty

Catalina Lacy

Catalina Lacy

Upper School Spanish Teacher

Met the Raramuri, the indigenous Mexican long-distance runners

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Cheryl Burger

Lower School Spanish Teacher

Loves walks in nature with family

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Josefina Jacquin

Josefina Jacquin

Upper School Spanish Teacher

Keeps up with friends around the world

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Xiaoyan Xu

Xiaoyan Xu

Upper School Mandarin Teacher

Once ate deep-fried silkworms

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Mandarin comic strip by Katie