Rockland’s unique center for language learning and international exchange begins its 24th season this month with fall semester courses for adults in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, and Chinese. Courses are offered at three levels to accommodate beginning through advanced students.

Penobscot School has pioneered the concept of “continuing courses.” Each course is a unique event, so that continuing students are never repeating a class. A course might involve watching films and discussing them; cooking and eating together (there is a kitchen in one of the classrooms); listening to opera and discussing the libretto; learning songs; grammar exercises and drill, reading and discussing literature; or any of an infinite combination of themes and exercises.

Teachers choose methods and themes that they have a passion for, and that will be effective vehicles for language learning. With this approach, hundreds of local residents have been able to develop a second language fluency while enjoying a wide variety of interesting and engaging courses. Students are also able to take advantage of the school’s informal language lunches, dinners, and special events.

Most courses meet one evening a week for 12 weeks, but there are also some daytime and weekend courses. In addition to the 22 courses for adults being offered this fall, there is a smaller selection of courses for children.

Course descriptions and other details are available online at the school’s Web site. Interested persons are also invited to call or e-mail the school or drop by the office to ask for a copy of the fall course brochure.

Courses begin the week of Sept. 20. Registration is possible online, by mail, or in person at the school, and even at the first class meeting. The school encourages earlier registration by offering a small discount for those who register before Sept. 17.

Anyone interested in learning more about the school and the fall courses is invited to the fall semester kickoff party at the school on Saturday, Sept. 11, from 2 to 4 p.m. This is a chance to meet teachers and students, to enjoy ethnic snacks and beverages, and to check out the school facilities. Special guest for the event will be Alessandra Baldetti from Sienna, Italy, Penobscot School’s newest exchange teacher.

Penobscot School is located at 28 Gay Street in Rockland. The telephone is 594-1084, email is, and the school’s Web site is