Preparing Boys for Life

Modern and Classical Languages

Mural Arts Tour The Haverford School

Spanish II went on a field trip aimed at connecting with the Latino community within the city of Philadelphia.

The Modern and Classical Languages Department prepares boys to be leaders and citizens in their local, national, and global communities, where a command of multiple languages is not simply beneficial, but necessary. our faculty engages students using traditional and modern methodologies rooted in the following interconnected principles: 
  • Cross-cultural engagement and empathy: Learning a new language affords students the unique opportunity to gain perspective on cultures that differ in place and time. Simultaneously, understanding another language and culture encourages them to reflect on and better appreciate their own. Our collaborative program motivates boys to be open, inclusive, and empathetic. 
  • Language acquisition: We aspire toward boys achieving proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in their respective languages while reaching the rigorous linguistic standards that we uphold. Our faculty fosters cross-cultural communication, inspires intellectual risk-taking, and instills confidence in students to navigate unfamiliar discourse. 
  • Authentic experience: Our classes contextualize language study by incorporating meaningful and authentic resources. We value and intentionally provide immersive experiences that align with our curriculum and partner with the Global Studies program for students to connect with communities locally and abroad.  


Chinese Program: 

Communicative language skills are the foundation of our Chinese program. By emphasizing listening and speaking followed by reading and writing, students accumulate common words and phrases quickly at the introductory level. Thematic units that emphasize real-time situations, such as ordering food, traveling, or making plans with friends, help students develop skills they can use immediately, as well as build a foundation to continue their studies in college and beyond. 

Latin Program: 

The study of Latin at Haverford centers on the literature, history, and culture of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. After learning the key vocabulary and grammatical structures of Latin, students move on to experience a set of classical texts that have shaped Western culture, and continue to shape our world today. 

Spanish Program: 

The humanity of past and present Spain and the Americas and the study of those cultures undergirds our Spanish program. The students' acquisition of linguistic structures and new vocabulary builds the foundation for future immersion in the target language and growth into level-appropriate literature study, story creation, text analysis, and authentic oral dialogue. 

critical thinking at The Haverford School

The role of critical thinking in the modern and classical language curriculum was featured in a recent issue of Haverford School Today, the school magazine. Click to read the story >


Montgomery County association of Foreign Language Oral Proficiency Contest

Top three finishes in Spanish for the past six years, including gold in 2018 and 2017

Top two finishes in Chinese in 2017, 2015, and 2014

National Latin Exam

Awards at all five levels

Philadelphia Classical Society Competitions

Best in Show

National Mythology Exam


The American Association of the Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese Oral Proficiency Expo



In the classroom

The Haverford School language class

Latin students researched curse tablets and wrote a Latin spell. Curse tablets were inscriptions, usually written on thin sheets of metal, and dropped into a hole or well. They are found at sites throughout the Roman Empire. 

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