The foreign language program is alive and well at Stevens Creek Elementary School.
This month, the Stevens Creek first-graders have learned the 30 letters of the Spanish alphabet, and they have learned about the five senses in Spanish.
They demonstrated their new skills to their parents during a performance at Tuesday's PTO meeting.
"We really want to showcase the way our Spanish teachers present Spanish to the children. It's just so fun for the children," said first-grade teacher Debra Clark.
As part of the program, a red-caped matador led the children into the cafeteria. The children also performed Spanish songs and chants.
An alphabet of 30 children marched on stage while the chorus sang El Alfabeto.
Five first-graders, holding large vowels, circled the stage as their classmates sang La Marcha de las Vocales. In another number, six boys, who were wearing sombreros and colorful, oversize gloves, performed on stage while the other students sang Pimpon.
Clark said the Spanish program is an integral part of the school's curriculum that carries over into all of the classrooms by helping the children learn to listen and follow directions.
"Movement and being able to use physical aspects of learning are really valuable," she said.
Clark also said performing helps the children become more comfortable with the language by practicing their skills in front of other people.
Funding for the Stevens Creek Spanish program was a cause of concern earlier this year after Gov. Sonny Perdue slashed the state allocation for its funding from $120,000 to $1,200. Prior to the cut, Stevens Creek was one of 29 elementary schools in the state to receive the funding.
Perdue reallocated $1.6 million in elementary school foreign language funding in the 2007-08 budget so that every elementary school in the state would instead receive $1,200 for foreign language materials.
No schools have received the money, however, because the governor's office and the state legislature disagree about the way the money should be distributed, a state Department of Education spokesman said.
About 75 Stevens Creek parents and children protested the funding cut in June when Perdue spoke at Savannah Rapids Pavilion for the annual legislative breakfast.
The school board agreed in the spring to allocate more funding to keep the Stevens Creek program going for another year.
Stevens Creek is the county's only elementary school with a foreign language program, though school officials currently are working on proposals to expand the program to other elementary schools.
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