While most kindergarteners are learning words like "green," "red" and "blue," those at St. John Neumann Regional Academy can be heard saying, "vert," "rouge" and "azul."
New this year, the academy has begun offering both the French and Spanish languages to students of all grade levels.
"In the elementary levels, they're learning an expansive amount of vocabulary instead of fighting through it in the ninth grade," said Kyle Murphy, French teacher.
Kyle Murphy, French teacher, says a command to his kindergarten class. Murphy says a color and the students must show something of that color. Student Gabe Matz points to something yellow as part of the game.
Elementary-age students participate in one lesson a week of one language and then switch halfway through the school year. Spanish had been offered to all grades for about five years but French is new this year.
When it comes to teaching children foreign languages who haven't even mastered English yet, both teachers said it's all about the basics.
"What we do is the sound of the words. The sound of the language," said Kathleen Kaufman, Spanish teacher. "Your tongue rolls around in your mouth differently than when you speak English."
"I kind of base it off of how we learn language. I start with colors and shapes," Murphy said.
Kaufman and Murphy both use worksheets, songs and coloring to help the students grasp the lesson of the day. Murphy said songs are the most effective tool.
"They remember songs really well," he said. Picking up even a small amount of the lessons in their younger years, will help them when they're older, the teachers said.
"They already know the basic words and pronunciations," Kaufman said.
Murphy said learning the languages also helps them to understand how the English language, as well. Kaufman added that they work on handwriting, which is a skill the students still are working on in the earlier grades.
During Kaufman's first-grade lesson, a worksheet requires the students to trace a letter multiple times after learning how to say it in Spanish. She then teaches the class a word starting with the letter of the day.
In the lesson on the letter "C," the class learned "casa" means "house."
Although he goes from teaching the basics to kindergarteners to more complex lessons for high school students, Murphy said it's fun to see the different levels learn.
"It's a challenge," he said. "But it's a good thing to challenge yourself."
For older students, Murphy said they learn about the culture, not just the language.
Kaufman said it is important for all students to learn about other cultures and languages.
"A foreign language opens the world to students," she said.