The arguments for studying Latin are widely known and we believe at S. Anselm’s that a knowledge of Latin, whether at foundation level or more advanced, gives our pupils a breadth of experience which proves invaluable. We begin Latin in Year 5 for those who attend Saturday school, following the highly acclaimed course for primary schools, Minimus by Barbara Bell. From Years 6 – 8 pupils learn from Latin Prep by Theo Zinn, a course that takes them through to Common Entrance and to Scholarship.
In some senior schools Latin is taught to all new entrants, in others pupils may choose Classical Civilisation in place of the structured language. We firmly believe that our preparation in Latin at prep school level lays the foundations for both and adds a colourful and academic dimension to our pupils’ studies. All children love to learn about Jason and the Argonauts, Perseus and Medusa, the Labours of Hercules, Theseus and the Minotaur and the Trojan Wars, amongst the greatest stories ever told. Our pupils enjoy the satisfaction of the intellectual rigour of Latin and their lives are enriched by the stories of the ancient world. They leave us wanting more.
Ancient Greek is taught to potential academic scholars in Years 7 and 8. The aim of the course is to provide an introduction to the language for beginners. Starting with the Greek alphabet, which must be mastered quickly, we move on to learn grammar in a formal way. We start with verbs and then move quickly on to the definite article and various declension patterns for nouns. Pupils enjoy the deciphering process, regarding this new (to them) language as a code and enjoying breaking down the diphthongs and understanding the breathings which give the ‘h’ sound. As all pupils show considerable ability with Latin, certain fundamental grammar points are already understood eg cases and genders of nouns.
We hope very much that this introduction to Ancient Greek will inspire our pupils to continue at their senior schools. It is an academic subject, like Latin, and opens doors to classical literature including plays and poetry, which will be of interest for life.