Latin instruction begins in the Upper Elementary and continues through Middle School. Latin is valuable to our students in several specific ways.
Latin contributes strongly to students’ understanding of English – not only are English and Latin cousins within the Indo-European family tree, but English has borrowed nearly 60% of its vocabulary from Latin and from French, a modern dialect/variant of Latin. Learning the Latin roots that appear so frequently in our own language increases students’ vocabulary and their ability to interpret and learn new words.
The United States Constitution is based in many ways on the governmental institutions of the Roman Republic. Our “founding fathers” drew on the models and anti-models of the Roman Republic and Greek democracies, therefore a real understanding of our government depends upon an awareness of the Classical sources upon which the founders relied.
Finally, while English and Spanish are the kind of languages referred to as ‘SVO’ (Subject-Verb-Object), Latin relies on other clues – primarily changing endings on nouns and verbs – to indicate how the various pieces of a given sentence fit together. The study of such a language, while challenging, is beneficial to developing minds – it requires students to engage in a complex process of memorization and synthesis of information, a process that leads them to think about language in a whole new way.