Languages at Helena Valley Primary School

At Helena Valley Primary School, all students from Year One to Year Six, have the ability to participate in learning a second language for an hour each week. The chosen language at Helena Valley Primary is Italian.

At our school, our goal is to provide an authentic learning environment where each child is encouraged to develop his/her communicative language skills in the target language. The program is an excellent learning opportunity which sees the children journey from the very beginnings of their target language development, including basic word recognition, pronunciation, recall and simple phrases all the way through to developing a broad vocabulary of Italian, intermediate conversational skills and a passion and enthusiasm for all things Italian!

The HVPS Italian program also provides a great framework for children entering secondary school, giving them a great foundation in their future endeavours of learning a second language.

During Italian language lessons, students are able to participate in:

Incursions and excursions related to the cultural and linguistics aspects of learning a language Italian whole-school cultural days Activities celebrating the Italian culture such as cooking, singing and dancing Assembly performances at school

Benefits of learning a second language

The Australian National School Curriculum and international practices across the world recognises the many benefits of children learning a second language in primary school. This includes the extension of capabilities in literacy and communication and developing a greater understanding of cultural respect and diversity within our community.

Evidence suggests that learning more than one language can enhance English literacy, help learners in other areas of curriculum, and help to develop skills in cross-cultural communication.

Learning a language also:

  • Enriches students intellectually, educationally and culturally
  • Enables learners to communicate across cultures
  • Further develops the linguistic and cultural resources in our community;
  • Enhances employment and career prospects for the individual
  • Develops an understanding of how languages work which leads to improved literacy skills, including English literacy
  • Helps students develop critical thinking, analysis and problem solving skills
  • Teaches students about other peoples, their ideas and ways of thinking
  • Contributes to social cohesiveness through better communication and understanding across cultures and inspires interest in and respect for other cultures

Why study Italian?

Italy has one of the richest cultural heritages of Western Civilisation and over the last 800 years has been a world leader in literature, architecture, painting, sculpture and music. The first University in Europe was founded in Bologna in 1290. Its School of Law was also a first and attracted scholars from all over Europe. Banking and accountancy were invented in Italy in the late Middle Ages.

Italy is one of the eight wealthiest nations in the world and is an essential international tourist destination. More and more Italian tourists are also visiting Australia.

Italian is, after English, the most widely spoken language in Australia. Over half a million Italian Australians use the language every day. You can practise and put Italian to use in your own community. You can virtually “live” Italian in Australia!

Italian is also pathway to employment and Italy is a major trading partner with Australia. A knowledge of Italian can be of benefit in fields such as tourism, music, design, architecture, teaching, technology, science and commerce.

Studying Italian is also valuable because:

  1. It is widely spoken – Australia is one of the largest Italian speaking countries in the world. This provides students with a living context in which to use the language beyond the classroom
  2. It is easy to learn – Italian follows very similar written conventions to English
  3. It has intrinsic linguistic value – Many English words are derived from the Italian language, especially in the fields of science, technology, literature and religion
  4. It has cultural prestige – Learning Italian will give students access to the rich history of Ancient Roman civilisation and the origins of Western civilisation in general
  5. It provides career prospects – As Italian is spoken by thousands of Australians, it becomes a highly useful second language for people working in welfare, professional domains and service industries. Knowing Italian also opens opportunities for employment overseas
  6. It is useful for travel – Italy is one of the most frequently visited European countries because of its rich culture, historical importance and geographical beauty

"One language sets you in a corridor for life, two languages opens every door along the way."
– Frank Smith.

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