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The Curriculum

With some play and fun added while learning a (maybe not so) foreign language, the Curriculum helps us stay focused on our ultimate goal: Understanding, Speaking, Reading and Writing German - not only generally accepted but also recognized by public institutions, such as High Schools, Colleges or Universities.

The curriculum at GSC reflects the very specific needs of the two tracks:
Track 1 - German as a Foreign Language - (Deutsch als Fremdsprache, DaF), and
Track 2 - German as Heritage Language (HL).

The curriculum is divided into a number of instructional units. It takes into account that whereas mainstream teaching can offer language instructions during 175 - 180 school days per year, GSC is a Saturday School with only 30 teaching days at its disposal annually (3 contact hours @ 45 minutes per Saturday). However, the language teaching/learning sequence for children and teenagers (Pre-K - 12) at GSC is longer and the expectations of performance levels at GSC are higher than in traditional settings. Classes are Saturday mornings from 9:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., unless otherwise indicated.

Goals

Track 1 - German as a foreign language (DaF), or F-Classes: Students enter GSC as beginners in the language. The GSC program seeks to develop the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing with the goal of developing communicative competence and adequate literacy. The aim is to reach at least a Mid-High, preferable a Pre-Advanced stage of language acquisition, which will be tested against the ACTFL (American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Guidelines or level A2 or B1 on the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference). Talented and motivated students can move to Track 2, if they desire and are able to do so.

Track 2 - German as a Heritage Language (HL), or M-Classes: Students come with previous exposure to German. (Typically at least one parent is a native German speaker, often the language is spoken at home.) The language of these students usually lacks formal registers and in most cases has not been developed and completed to the level of native speakers. Also, language skills of these students often reflect a local variety. Teaching German HL requires a specific approach to classroom instruction. The focus is on filling the gaps in grammar and vocabulary development, increasing linguistic accuracy, and helping students acquire literacy for academic and professional usage. Final testing exists on levels B1 and C1 according to CEFR or ACTFL guidelines.

"Flummi" Class (ages 1-3) - Stamford only

A wonderful, playful introduction to the German language for young children. Flummi classes are a mom/dad and me class where parents sit in with their children. It has play- and structured circle-time.
The earlier a child is exposed to a foreign language the better. Time Magazine states "The ability to learn a second language is highest between birth and the age of six..."

Preschool (ages 3-4)

Students with previous knowledge and beginners in the language learn together. They are exposed to age-appropriate activities in a German language environment. They develop simple listening and speaking skills. Playing and singing while learning is an integral part of this program.

Kindergarten (ages 5 to 6)

Track 1 - Reading/Writing (DaF): Students review previously introduced material or are beginners in the language. We provide age-appropriate further development or introduction into the skills of listening and speaking. Reading and writing in German and some simple grammatical structures are also introduced at this level.
Beginners in the language can enter these units.

Track 2 - Reading/Writing (HL): This course makes use of previous exposure in the language. Age-appropriate further development of listening and speaking skills are stressed. Reading and writing and some simple grammatical structures are also introduced at this level.

Elementary School Age (1st - 4th Grade / ages 7 to 10)

Track 1 (DaF): Introduction to basic language with emphasis on comprehension and simple communication, reading and writing skills.

Track 2 (HL): In addition to comprehension, speaking and vocabulary building exercises, there is an introduction to simple structural concepts of the language to promote reading, writing and accuracy.

Middle School Age (5th - 8th Grade / ages 10 to 13)

Track 1 (DaF): Continuation of previously learned materials and preparation for testing. Classes for new beginners, provided there is sufficient enrollment.

Track 2 (HL): Continuation of previously learned materials and preparation for testing.

High School Age (9th - 12th Grade / ages 14 - 17)

Track 1 (DaF): Continuation of previously learned materials. Testing. Provided there is sufficient enrollment, we also offer additional Introductory German classes for this age group.

Track 2 (HL): Practice of advanced German language skills, more intensive study of literature, history and geography. Testing.

Adult Learners

Classes are offered for beginning, intermediate and advanced students. Emphasis is on mastering communication requirements for social and business settings. The classroom atmosphere is relaxed and includes films as well as cultural programs.

Specialty classes and private lessons are arranged by appointment.
Class times may vary for beginners.

Testing

The Sprachdiplom I (B1) and II (C1) examinations test students with 10 and 12 years of German instruction on their mastery of spoken and written German as well as on German culture, history and literature. These examinations satisfy the German language requirement for matricuilation at a Studienkolleg (pre-university study) and at a German university, respectively.

In addition, GSC offers the new level A-1 / 2 Vergleichsarbeit (international exam), the AATG (American Association of Teachers of German) standard High School examinations, levels 2 - 4. We also prepare students to take the American German AP (Advanced Placement) test and the SAT German Subject Test.