A note from the Principal – Enrichment Update

Dear Parents,

Due to the generous support of Lower Lab parents, combined with the cost-effective and strategic use of resources, we are able to move forward with a plan that provides more than ever before.  After extensive research, demonstration lessons and evaluation, and in collaboration with the School Leadership Team, I am thrilled to share the revised enrichment plan for grades K-2:

Beginning in September 2019, K-2 will be able to keep their once-a-week Dance/Movement program which began in the second half of this year.

Beginning in September 2019, in lieu of Spanish, our First and Second graders will begin their study of Latin.

Beginning in the fall of 2019, Kindergarteners will have twice the amount of Chess that they have currently.

All other enrichments remain the same.

As a committee and as a school community, we share the sentiment that physical activity is crucial to children’s thinking and their ability to learn.  Chess has also shown great benefit to our youngest students in terms of strategizing and higher order thinking.  Seeing our students’ smiling faces and budding enthusiasm for both of these enrichments is its own rationale.

Here are some key points that provide the rationale for Latin in our lower grades:

  • Latin provides an excellent foundation for the English language (word study and vocabulary). English is a hybrid language, the combination of English (taught through phonics) and Latin (taught through roots and syllabic parts).
  • The bigger, harder, polysyllabic words which students encounter after the basic English words, comes from Latin. Over 50% of English vocabulary derives from Latin, with over 80-90% of the polysyllabic words derived from Latin.
  • Latin is also the biggest influencer over vocabulary specific to law, medicine, music, theology, philosophy, art and literature. In science education, the academic/specialized vocabulary comes from Latin. Latin also provides the root words for the specialized vocabulary of mathematics.
  • Latin grammar helps English grammar. It is also a practice in linguistic problem-solving, which can support students becoming more careful readers and writers.
  • Latin is a great preparation for studying any of the Romance languages. About 90% of the vocabulary from French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian comes from Latin.  Latin grammar supports how all languages work.
  • The benefit of studying Latin for multiple years is supported by the understanding that it is a cumulative subject that builds year after year, similar to math. It is not a topical subject; it gets deeper and the skills get more advanced.

Additional factors:

  • Our Latin teacher of grades 3-5 has been with Lower Lab for almost a decade. He is thrilled to be able to provide this continuity of learning for our school. We are thrilled to have a sustainable plan.
  • 70% of independent schools offer Latin (internationally, our private schools are ranked best in the world)
  • Mark Zuckerberg regards Latin as one of the keys to his success.
  • Your child’s principal studied Latin in elementary school, and also attributes it as one of the keys to her success….


Carpe diem,

Sandra G. Miller