World Languages

All students learn a world language.

Beginning in kindergarten, students and families may choose to study either Spanish or Mandarin Chinese. Study of that language continues throughout the elementary grades. All 4th and 5th grade students also study Latin while simultaneously taking Spanish or Chinese. Middle School students may choose to continue with one language: Chinese, Latin, or Spanish.

The mission of the world language program is to provide students the opportunity to experience the joy of learning to speak another language and to prepare students to become part of the global community.

The program strives to:

  • enhance language skills and to promote a better understanding of language in general
  • expand the cultural experiences of students
  • provide students the opportunity to experience the satisfaction of reading, writing, speaking, and thinking in a second or third language


Instruction emphasizes a communicative approach to language learning, integrating strategies to bring language to life through role-playing, games, music, hands-on projects and storytelling. Curriculum centers on thematic units including some with vocabulary related to content units being studied in the classroom. Common topics are often studied at multiple levels with increasing depth and variety of content.

The focus in grades K-3 is on developing informal conversation skills, acquiring vocabulary and having fun with the language. Fourth and fifth grade curriculum adds more development of reading and writing skills along with strengthening speaking and listening through Total Physical Response Storytelling strategies which incorporate physical actions and storytelling to develop fluency. The middle school curriculum increases the pace, continuing to develop communication skills and adding more formal study of grammatical concepts. All levels strive to expand cultural awareness and understanding.

Kindergarten/1st Grade

  • greetings, farewells, expressions of courtesy
  • numbers 1-20
  • colors and shapes
  • days of the week
  • food
  • animals
  • parts of the body
  • clothing
  • classroom objects
  • following classroom commands

2nd/3rd Grade

  • review and expansion of K/1 topics
  • numbers to 100 and beyond
  • calendar and dates
  • family members
  • weather expressions
  • telling age
  • telling time
  • expressing feelings
  • describing objects and people
  • using and responding to interrogative expressions
  • expressing likes and dislikes

4th/5th Grade

  • responding to commands
  • understanding, answering and using interrogative expressions
  • identifying and describing objects and people
  • describing how someone feels
  • narrating the events of a story orally and in writing
  • reading and understanding a story

Middle School

The following thematic units cover vocabulary and grammatical concepts appropriate to high school level one Spanish course curriculum.

  • yourself and your friends, likes and dislikes
  • school and classes
  • food and health
  • leisure activities
  • family and celebrations
  • home
  • shopping
  • vacations and travel
  • community


Our Chinese program helps students develop language skills in listening, reading, speaking, and writing using a variety of role-playing, games, and cultural activities. The curriculum is designed to provide students with opportunities to practice their language learning in cultural units and, when possible, community connections. While learning Chinese, students study the culture and history behind the language and participate in activities that reinforce their learning.

Kindergarten and first grade classes emphasize songs and movements, the four tones, phonics, basic pictographs, and character recognition. Second and third grade students build on this work by learning to group characters and work to extend their writing from single characters to phrases to sentences. The fourth and fifth grade classes, along with the Middle School Chinese 2 students, continue expanding their repertoire of combing sounds and making basic conversation. With this, Middle School Chinese 3 students concentrate on paragraph writing, essay composition, and conversation.

Kindergarten/1st Grade

  • Numbers 1-10
  • Greetings and farewells
  • Family
  • Colors
  • Animals
  • Pets
  • Foods
  • Character observation and/or recognition
  • Basic strokes of writing characters
  • Pictographs
  • Radicals
  • Mandarin phonics
  • Four tones
  • Songs and movement
  • Cultural events, both in school and in community

2nd/3rd Grade

  • Numbers 1-100
  • Name
  • Age
  • Family members
  • School
  • Foods
  • Colors
  • Clothes
  • Grouping related characters
  • Making phrases
  • Writing characters
  • Identifying phonetic symbols
  • Sound out combination of vowels and consonants with four tones
  • Songs and movement
  • Culture events both in school and community

4th/5th grades and Middle School Chinese 2

  • Numbers 1-100
  • Name
  • Age
  • Grade
  • School
  • Clothes
  • Foods
  • Calendar
  • Grouping related characters
  • Radical
  • Writing characters
  • Producing phrases and sentences
  • Writing characters
  • Sound out combination of vowels and consonants with four tones
  • Basic Conversation
  • Culture events both in the school and community

Middle School Chinese 3

  • Foods
  • Sports
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Birthday
  • Pets/animals/zoo
  • Direction
  • School
  • Nationality
  • Sentence structures
  • Writing short essay, skits
  • Conversation
  • Reading
  • Culture events both in the school and community


Our Latin program begins with two years of study in 4th and 5th grade where students learn basic concepts of Latin grammar and develop an understanding of Roman culture. They learn to translate simple Latin prose and begin building their Latin vocabulary.

The students are introduced to subject and direct object forms in the singular and plural. They learn three different verb tenses and the forms of each of these. They are introduced to prepositional phrases as well as subject/verb agreement. Each class learns about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the daily life of the Romans, gladiators, and the Roman army. The students are also introduced to Latin and Greek roots, suffixes, and prefixes to help develop vocabulary building strategies.

The middle school Latin classes deepen the focus on Latin grammar concepts and expand their vocabulary. They learn the six cases of nouns and the groups to which nouns belong. They learn the forms of the nouns belonging to each group, and how each form has a specific function in a Latin sentence. They learn the six tenses of verbs in the active and passive voice. They are introduced to many different types of grammar structures, such as relative clauses and dum clauses.

The students also study Roman culture, including history, mythology, and the daily life of the Romans. The students discuss the founding of Rome, the famous heroes and their stories, as well as some of the prominent figures in Roman history, such as Caesar and Augustus. The middle school students also learn Latin and Greek roots, suffixes, and prefixes to help develop vocabulary building strategies. There are two levels of Latin in the Middle School.


Countryside School
4301 W. Kirby Ave. Champaign, IL 61822
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