April 25, 2007

Salvete, Discipuli!

Now here's a nifty story - Latin is being reintroduced to some London public primary schools:

Five primary schools in Hackney will be offering Latin from September, while Lorna [Robinson] is already teaching in Kilburn, in north-west London.

Boris Johnson, the shadow higher education minister who has presented television programmes on the ancient world, is an enthusiastic supporter of the project.

'New and interesting'

Performances in English tests over the next few years will show whether the project is having a concrete effect, but Benthal's young head teacher Tim Hunter-Whitehouse is already full of praise for the effect Latin has had.

He said: "It's given the children something new and interesting. It gives them a historical basis of language.

"It could be seen as a slightly dead subject but it has many uses, especially using terms in subjects like maths and science.

"It's a taster for the children. The curriculum is busy but you have got to be as creative as you can and create as broad a range of experiences as possible."

Dr Robinson is also editing a Latin and Greek magazine called Iris, which is being distributed free to state schools by Cambridge University.

This being grade school level work, it appears that some inventive educational forms are being used:

The aim is to introduce the ethnically mixed pupils, who speak up to 30 different languages at home, to Latin, which underpins much English vocabulary.

Lorna, who started the classes last September, said: "We want to see if the Latin improves their literacy results. It's a very specific aim.

"We also want to promote interest and opportunities to learn Latin in state schools.

"It will help the children think about language and how it is constructed at an early age. They all ask questions and are making good progress.

"Often, because they are so young, they are able to remember more words than I can."

The children have taken part in activities as modern as bingo and making up road signs.

This sounds a lot like what the Missus has done with her class at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method. I've got a birthday invitation up on my wall that was written by the eldest Llama-ette last year. It reads:

Carissima Lepidina,

III Idas Septembres, veni ad diem natalem meum. Vale, soror, anima mea.


I expect she's forgotten every word of it by now, but the seed has been planted.

Yips! to Rachel.

Posted by Robert at April 25, 2007 02:58 PM | TrackBack

This of course calls for a link to one of my favorite Python skits of all time: Romanes Eunt Domus


Posted by: JohnL at April 25, 2007 04:05 PM