Minister Gibbons with Port Royal Primary School student in years P4 and P5. *Photo supplied
Minister Gibbons with Port Royal Primary School student in years P4 and P5. *Photo supplied
21 April 2010

The Department of Education’s Portuguese Language programme began four years ago at the primary level and was restructured in January this year after a dedicated teacher was assigned to the programme. In alignment with the Elementary Level Curriculum and Modern Languages of the National UK Curriculum, students at Heron Bay and Port Royal have received instruction one period a week for thirty minutes.

Heron Bay Primary P2 and P3 students and Port Royal Primary P4 and P5 students have been learning the language at the direction of their teacher, Patricia Eatherley.

This morning at the Port Royal Primary School, Minister of Education and Economic Development, Dr The Hon. Grant Gibbons, JP, MP attended the first of two assemblies planned for the students to demonstrate what they have learned since January.  Minister Gibbons spoke with the students before presenting them with certificates.  He said, “This is the right age for you to learn a language because it will stay with you for life. I encourage you to keep practicing and learning the Portuguese language and culture. You did a terrific job today, well done.”

The goal of the Portuguese Program is to expose students at an early age to a second language spoken in Bermuda and to encourage awareness of cultural similarities and differences. The goals of the programme are grounded on the principles that children at the preschool and primary age acquire language naturally and can readily learn a second language if the environment for the second language is similar to that of the predominant language (English).  Further, children at the preschool and primary age can understand the concept of culture through comparisons of cultures studied with their own; whether it is family, school, or broader community/societal culture.

The Department of Education plans to continue offering the Portuguese Language Programme at these two schools in September 2014, with a future goal to deliver Foreign Language in all primary schools.