A group of Menlo-Atherton High School students will spend their Saturdays tutoring K-8 students in Latin to promote literacy and English language skills with the launch of a new program this weekend.
The Menlo-Atherton High School classics program is working with the Paideia Institute, a nonprofit that promotes the study of the classical humanities, to start a branch of The Aequora Program in Menlo Park.
The program is free, and the first session is scheduled for Saturday, June 15, at the Belle Haven Library.
"This program aims to help students to improve their literacy and this is a great opportunity for our students to give back to their community, helping people to succeed in school," said M-A Latin teacher Maria Luisa de Seta, who is the program’s site coordinator.
"Last, but not least, as Aequora is shaped by a belief that everyone should have access to Latin and by a vision of Classics as an inclusive, diverse, and socially engaged field, we think that this is a way to try to build community in our diverse and not always equal community," she said.
The curriculum will focus on Roman culture and mythology, as well as basic Latin vocabulary and grammar through games and engaging activities, according to M-A organizers.
Students can use their new Latin knowledge to make connections across both English and Spanish, organizers said. Participants will be able to build English and language arts skills, including strategies in vocabulary, reading comprehension and spelling, they added.
Volunteer tutors (the majority of whom are current M-A students) and experienced Silicon Valley Latin teachers will run the classes, said Sophia Alvarez, head of M-A's Junior Classical League club, in an email.
New York-based Paideia Institute developed The Aequora Program, but this is the first Silicon Valley branch of the program, said de Seta. There are other Aequora programs throughout the U.S.
No sign-up is necessary to attend the free sessions, Alvarez said. The program will continue to run throughout the school year.
The lessons will take place on Saturdays from 3 to 4 p.m. at Belle Haven Library, 413 Ivy Drive in Menlo Park. Organizers advise checking the library schedule for change in time and room location. The first meeting will take place in the library's conference room, Alvarez said.