Foreign Languages

Latin and Ancient Greek

The Latin and Ancient Greek course at Birchwood School of Hawken is for seventh and eighth grade students whose performance in class and on standardized tests has shown that they need enrichment in the vocabulary and grammar parts of Birchwood’s language arts curriculum.

In seventh grade, students meet twice a week, spending about 75 percent of their time studying Latin and 25 percent of their time studying Ancient Greek. The Latin textbook they use is the first book in a high school series called “Ecce Romani.” For Greek they use “Eucleides’ World,” a book designed for use alongside “Ecce Romani.” Students cover about half of “Ecce Romani I” during the first year of Latin.

Eighth grade students also meet twice a week all year and continue to use the “Ecce Romani” textbook. Students will finish the book by the end of their second year.

Over the past four years, many Birchwood eighth grade students have placed out of a year of high school Latin at Hawken School, and St. Ignatius and Westlake high schools.



Beginning in preschool and continuing through eighth grade, all Birchwood students study Spanish. In the first through fourth grades, students are introduced to various Hispanic cultures and they learn songs, poems, vocabulary and even conduct simple conversations.

In the fifth through eighth grades, instruction becomes more formal and students have the opportunity to study Spanish with a view to reading, writing and speaking fluently. Students in the seventh and eighth grades have the option to study Spanish at a level that will enable them to pass out of the high school level one Spanish course.

Each spring a fun and festive Spanish Show is presented to parents. This performance displays the children’s learning and discovery through music and song.


The study of Latin and Ancient Greek enriches students’ knowledge of vocabulary and grammar.


Beginning in preschool, every Birchwood student studies Spanish.