At Highnam, we have chosen to teach a progressive course of Latin from Year 4 and onwards. This both supports the aims of the National Curriculum and complements our teaching of grammar – especially the children’s understanding and enrichment of English vocabulary. Having an understanding of an ancient language also provides a foundation for how languages function and can provide particular insights into language such as Spanish, French and Portuguese which children may learn in secondary school and beyond.
In the English vocabulary, over 60% of English words have Greek or Latin roots and in the vocabulary of the sciences and technology, that figure rises to over 90%. This means that through studying a classical language, there are rich opportunities for children to explore the etymology (the study of historical linguistic change) in different words and subjects.
For example, children would analyse the roots of English language in words such as telescope. They would learn that tele means ‘far away’ and scope means ‘to see’. From this, they can determine that a telescope is an object used to see something that is far away. Links can then also be made to other words using the known roots; tele is within words such as telegram, telephone, television, telepathic, teleport and scope in stethoscope, microscope and horoscope. Meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary can be established by then using knowledge of root words.
The study of classics also helps the children develop and embed their learning in history, (especially in the Romans and Ancient Greeks topics), art, mathematics and science.
We follow the Maximum Classics programme which includes content on classical culture e.g. mythology and everyday life, and on the Latin language. Whilst expanding the children’s knowledge of English-Latin etymology, it also incorporates learning and games to make learning a language both fun and memorable.