This January, the Notre Dame Aequora Program began its partnership with Clay International Academy, a South Bend elementary school. The Program, headed by Professor Luca Grillo and Professor Tadeusz Mazurek, consists of twenty Notre Dame undergraduate and graduate students who go to Clay Academy once per week to teach Latin to fifth-grade students. Pairs of Notre Dame students work with groups of four or five Clay Academy students, insuring that each student receives as much help and attention as possible as he or she begins learning Latin. When asked why he chose to participate in the Aequora Program, Sophomore Will LaMarra said, "The Aequora Program is a great opportunity to share my love of Latin and the Roman world in a way that's fun and piques the kids' curiosity and desire to learn. It's also a great way to get to know other members of the Department and work together on a project that is meaningful to all of us." The students have responded enthusiastically to the classes, which thus far have included activities such as learning phrases to have short conversations in Latin and picking out new Roman names to use in class. While the Program is currently volunteer-based, the Classics Department hopes to develop it into a three-credit course on Latin pedagogy that will prepare Notre Dame students to become more effective Latin educators in the future.
The Notre Dame Aequora Program has been awarded a grant by the Center for Social Concerns that will help support our students and their effort to bring the study of Latin to Clay International Academy. Specifically, this grant will be used to cover the cost of materials and transportation, and help sponsor an event for our elementary school students on Notre Dame's campus.
The Aequora Program was created by the Paideia Institute, which seeks to expand accessibility to the study of Latin and to make Classics a more diverse, inclusive, and socially conscious field. The Aequora Program is designed to affect this change by teaching literacy through Latin, particularly in schools of less privileged communities. The Classics Department of Notre Dame is excited to be a part of this program and to be able to support one of our local schools in offering Latin to its students for the first time.
For more information about the Paideia Institute, visit their website here.