Feb 17, 2017

"If you know these really old stories it helps you to read stuff in our culture"

Essential to The Latin Programme approach is the wide variety of teaching techniques we use to excite, inspire and engage children.  Games, songs, raps, drama, critical thinking and storytelling are all indispensible to the programme, each offering children different experiences and opportunities for learning.  


As National Storytelling Week falls in February we thought we'd focus this update on how The Latin Programme uses stories and storytelling to solidify the Latin and literacy learning of our students.


At the end of each term professional storytellers visit our classrooms and recount ancient Greek and Roman myths.  Each session begins with a short drama skit in which students play the roles of characters from the story they are about to hear.  This kinaesthetic learning solidifies their knowledge of Latin conversation, builds their confidence and offers children who do not excel at paper-and-pen-based activities another way to engage. Our storytellers then perform and by retelling a tale that has been told for thousands of years they invite students to explore universal themes and complex emotions that empower and transport.


In our first ever podcast below we meet and talk to two of our storytellers, Lucy and Alys about telling tales, learning language and accessing culture. Have a listen and let us know what you think.


Dec 19, 2016

"The whole lesson felt like a minute!"

This September The Latin Programme began teaching at St. Edward’s, a primary school in North London.  Like many of the schools we work with (and in fact, many in London) St Edward’s has a high number of students from BME backgrounds and who speak English as an additional language (EAL).  Sixty-nine per cent of the St Edward’s students are EAL (compared with the national average of 17%) and 66% come from BME backgrounds (compared with the national average of 26%).

Those who speak a language other than English come from countries including Poland, Spain, Portugal and Italy.  Latin’s influence is evident in many of these languages and children get very excited when they recognise words in the Latin vocabulary they are learning. Even in non-language subjects, such as Religious Education and History, children are consistently noticing how many English words derive from Latin. This detection improves the confidence of EAL students in particular, who can often struggle, and encourages them to participate further.  Sharon, The Latin Programme teacher at St Edward’s has noticed how Latin is also helping improve students’ analytical skills, which are being honed as they work to decipher inflected grammar. 

St Edward’s has embraced Latin and the students are engaging with real enthusiasm.  Sharon recounted how, after his first Latin class, one student exclaimed “the whole lesson felt like a minute!”  Classroom teacher, Liliana, said ‘It is lovely to see how children are engaging with learning Latin in a funny and didactic way. It is also interesting to see the connections they make with English, especially in grammar and expansion of their own vocabulary!’

 Just this month St Edwards’ held a Latin themed assembly to which parents were invited.  Sharon explained the many benefits of learning Latin and why starting to learn it while in primary school is such a good idea. She stressed the importance of Latin and its value in today’s world highlighting how much it helps with the future study of foreign languages and the enormous impact of Roman culture and society has had on European peoples and languages. Children performed in Latin and sang the carol Gaudete and parents were treated to a taste of a Latin Programme lesson discovering how omnipresent Latin is in modern English--such as in the prefixes of everyday words (like ab in absent) and in common abbreviations (like a.m. and p.m).  

We are so grateful to supporters like you.  We believe Latin is having an exciting and positive impact on the children at St Edward’s. By offering stimulating and fun lessons we hope to excite children’s innate desire to learn and to ensure they leave school with solid literacy skills that will serve them throughout their lives. We couldn’t accomplish any of this without you.  Thank you for helping us to reach and enthuse the children at St Edward’s and all across London.

From all of us at The Latin Programme, and on behalf of all the children with whom we work, we wish you and yours a happy holiday season and all the best for 2017.


Sep 20, 2016

"Mondays start with Latin, that means you want to go to school!"

Laura with one of her classes
Laura with one of her classes

Meet Laura (she's the tall one in the background to the right).  She has been a teacher with the Latin Programme for the last five years, and like all our other teachers, she uses her creative background in the classroom.  Before joining The Latin Programme she worked for a theatre company and ran an educational programme in cinema.

Laura's background in visual arts and drama is evident in the way she teaches.  She brings a highly kinaesthetic approach to her lessons, using her body and expression to physically demonstrate the concepts she teaching.  For example, when teaching the component parts of a sentence – subject, verb, object – Laura encourages the children to move from one place in the classroom to another, one for the subject, another for the verb and another for the object.  This is a particularly effective method of teaching children whose first language is not English--of whom there are many in The Latin Programme’s schools.

The most rewarding lessons for Laura are those in which children make links for themselves.  Last term, one little girl from Russia realised that the Russian language was connected to Latin and has since scored particularly well in vocabulary quizzes. 

Interactive games are key to The Latin Programme’s unique way of teaching and Laura's use of drama and storytelling techniques engage the children to such an extent that they hardly realise they are learning because they are having such fun.  In fact, one of the class teachers overheard a pupil saying, “It’s great this year, it’s like we’ve only got 4 days of school.  Mondays start with Latin, that means you want to go to school”.  

Your support of The Latin Programme helps Laura, and all of us, to make a significant difference in the lives of inner-city children. By improving their literacy and language skills we are enhancing their life chances and encouraging them to become involved and active community members.  Thank you for your continued generosity.

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