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In San Silvestre language learning is not only part of the academic profile but is a distinctive sign of its character as a bilingual school (English-Spanish). Living in a globalised world, fluency in a range of languages is no longer considered a privilege but an essential requirement. San Silvestre School considers the learning of different languages to be of utmost importance in increasing access to and deepening understanding of other cultures.

Research has shown that “children do not learn language by learning language”; they learn language through active and authentic communication: speaking, reading, listening and interacting with the language to explore ideas and solve real problems.


It is our goal that students leave San Silvestre School with a wide range of “future-ready” / future-proof attributes to ensure they are:

  • Creative/innovative  thinkers

    Creative/innovative thinkers

  • Proficient  readers

    Proficient readers

  • Effective  communicators

    Effective communicators

  • Knowledgeable  global citizens

    Knowledgeable global citizens

  • Capable  technology users

    Capable technology users

  • Efficient  researchers

    Efficient researchers

  • Strong team  contributors

    Strong team contributors

  • Independent  learners

    Independent learners

San Silvestre School provides all students with the opportunity to learn both English and Spanish at an early age as languages acquired naturally and fluently as part of their daily learning. Later, when entering grade four of the Primary section, our students are introduced to French which they can continue learning until they sit the International Examinations. In third year of Secondary school students can opt to study a fourth language such as Mandarin or Italian.

  • Early Years

    We are convinced that learning a second language at an early age not only improves a child’s pronunciation and performance, but also benefits other areas:

    • Improves general academic performance
    • Develops thinking skills that are essential for the curriculum (IBL)
    • Enhances overall knowledge by encouraging closer relations with other cultures

    Our English immersion programme starts in the Early Years. The objective is to ensure that, by the time they complete their studies, pupils will acquire the ability to analyse and express themselves in English as a first language.

    In Nursery, full immersion starts as of Bimester 2. During Bimester 1, which we consider our settling in period, teachers will communicate with their children in Spanish. By half term of Bimester 1, Nursery teachers start using English more consistently, our aim is to phase Spanish out by the beginning of Bimester 2. However, we understand that this is the youngest groups of the school and their developmental stages all vary. We therefore look at each case individually.  In Pre School, Reception and Grade 1, full English immersion helps develop an excellent grasp of the language in oral, reading and writing skills. Our aim is for every student in the Early Years section to consolidate the English language acquisition and then transfer these skills and apply them when learning Spanish. We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage from the UK and approach to acquiring English is based on activities that encourage learning through play, so that the children can naturally move towards reading and other skills.

  • Primary and Secondary Section

    In the Primary Section, the structure of the school day is such that students spend a lot of time of their timetable in courses taught in English, thereby developing confidence and competence to be balanced bilingual pupils.(English, Social Studies, Science, Maths and Art are taught in English)

    French is introduced as a third language in Grade Four.

    In the Secondary section English and Spanish are part of their daily learning and girls learn literature in both languages.

    English

    As San Silvestre is a British school, English forms an overall part of the curriculum and a lot of courses are taught in English. Pupils are not only taught to express themselves orally and in writing, but also to think and analyse in their first and second language. The excellent level of English enables our students to take international examinations in English and obtain outstanding results.

    Spanish

    Since Spanish is the mother tongue of the majority of our pupils, constant writing practice is given and great care is taken to develop the oral language and the writing of academic essays. This course is taught throughout the school and students are exposed to both classic and contemporary literature.

    French, Mandarin and Italian

    Pupils learn to communicate effectively in a variety of situations and within the cultural context in which the language is spoken. French is compulsory from Grade Four to Form II. In Form III, French, Mandarin and Italian are optional courses.

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