World Languages

Students at Washington Preparatory School are required to study a world language. We offer Language Acquisition classes in Spanish or Chinese (Mandarin).. We offer beginner classes in grade 6 for Spanish and Chinese (Mandarin) and in grade 9 for Spanish and Chinese (Mandarin).

Students are required to choose a language in grade 6 or upon entry to the School. Once the language choice is made, we expect the students to continue with this language through grade 12. Requests for changes to the language studied are considered case by case. Upon admission to the school, students who have had prior language instruction, will be given a placement test for either Spanish or Mandarin in order to identify the proper course placement.

Language acquisition at Washington Preparatory School is aimed to develop a respect for, and understanding of, other languages and cultures, and is equally designed to equip the student with a skills base to facilitate further language learning.


Grade 6/7 Spanish This course covers a range of basic vocabulary and grammatical structures which will allow students to access the language throughout the rest of their school career. Students learn the Spanish alphabet and numbers, how to describe people and themselves, give opinions and express what they like or don’t like to do, and talk about food. Grammar includes the concept of feminine and masculine nouns, plural, forming negatives, regular verbs in the present tense, and the irregular verbs “to have” and “to be.” Students start to learn a range of reading strategies, and to describe and respond to visual and written text. They start to produce language orally, working on intonation and pronunciation, and in writing within the conventions of a limited number of text types.

Grade 6/7 Spanish This course covers the topics of towns, shopping, and finding one’s way around, planning a party, sports and leisure activities, and exploring amusement parks. Grammar includes conjugation of regular and irregular verbs and making negative statements, reflexive verbs are introduced, and possessive adjectives and numbers are reviewed. The preterit tense is introduced, as well as the immediate future. Students start to gain the skills they need to make comparisons between their original culture and those of the Spanish-speaking world. They also gain a better understanding of writing with a sense of audience, purpose, and context and begin to practice using a variety of text types.

Grade 8/9 Spanish I students begin to comprehend the perspectives, practices, and products of the Spanish-speaking world. Via “perspectives,” students learn through culture about the world views, attitudes, and belief systems that frame what Hispanics think and do. By the end of this course, students will be able to name all regions where Spanish is the official language, the typical foods enjoyed in these regions, as well as some different customs practiced by its people. In addition, students in Spanish I will be familiar with, and comfortably conjugate, regular and irregular verbs in the present tense and other grammatical facets of the target language, as well as pertinent vocabulary for this level.

Grade 9 Spanish II is a prerequisite for Spanish III. This course is designed to give students the opportunity to communicate in the target language as well as continue to develop world language skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students in Spanish II will develop and expand upon their prior knowledge and communicative skills at their own pace but, with a common goal. At the conclusion of Spanish II, all students will be able to engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions in both the present and past tenses of the target language.


Mandarin Level I (Entry-level) is an introductory course of Mandarin Chinese. The course is designed to introduce students to the principles of character and phonetic (pinyin) writing, tones’ pronunciation, and basic vocabulary (150~600 words). The written and spoken aspects of the language are equally emphasized. General vocabulary and elementary grammar skills are developed. Students learn basic greetings, numbers, dates, and vocabulary relative to family, occupations, time, and daily routines. An important goal of the course is to present to students the fascinating universe of Chinese culture (including festivals, the calendar, traditional medicine, and cooking). We ask questions such as: How are Chinese characters structured? Why did the Chinese people never move away from this complicated writing system? What are the advantages of character-based writing?

Mandarin Level II (Intermediate Level) is designed to build on the foundations established in Mandarin and to advance students’ knowledge of basic grammar, vocabulary (1000~3000 words), and writing. The written and spoken aspects of the language are equally emphasized. General vocabulary and elementary grammar skills are further developed and students acquire competency to converse about topics such as likes and dislikes, clothing, transportations, physical appearance, Chinese and world geography, school, health, and hobbies.

Mandarin Level III (Advanced level) This course is an advanced beginner course of Mandarin Chinese. The course is designed to further develop the language competence established in Mandarin and to advance students’ knowledge of general grammar, vocabulary (more than 5000 words), and writing. The written and spoken aspects of the language are equally emphasized. General vocabulary and more complex grammar skills are developed. Students acquire competency to converse about food, shopping, restaurants, pastimes, the home, and the neighborhood. Students are guided to identify the unique aspects of Chinese culture and to compare it to their own culture, thus helping them to develop critical thinking skills.
For advanced level students, we will also help them to prepare SAT Chinese and AP Chinese exams, by learning and practicing the linguistic skills of reading, writing, listening, and communication.