First grade is a time of giant steps and active involvement for children. Students are becoming confident young learners who thrive for more knowledge. They are eager to learn and share what they know. The first grade classroom environment is a place that is comfortable, inviting, and motivating.
Developmentally, first graders are more self-controlled and competent than kindergarten children, but they are every bit as active and curious. During the course of the year, they are encouraged to focus on learning independence, responsibility, and concentration. Working cooperatively is encouraged, as this is a lifelong skill. Children are given ample opportunity to move around and use their whole bodies.
A major emphasis for the year is reading, in which a balanced literacy approach is used. Reading and writing are often integrated into science, social studies and mathematics lessons. Individualized reading and writing experiences within the classroom are enhanced with the use of the Reader's and Writer’s Workshop which teaches reading and writing skills through whole group as well as small group and one-on-one instruction. Direct instruction is also provided in phonics and spelling. An extensive library is available for the students.
Math skills blossom in first grade. Continuing with the foundation learned using Singapore Math in kindergarten, new concepts are taught through the use of concrete materials followed by pictorial representations. Once the concept is mastered through the use of manipulatives, students learn to apply their knowledge abstractly.
The Social Studies curriculum focuses on geography, communities, and helping students understand their place in the world. Science is taught using the Mystery Science curriculum and the key units of study include Animal Traits and Survival, Plant Traits and Survival, Day Patterns, Night Patterns, and Light and Sound. Technology is integrated across the curriculum and supported by a one-to-one iPad program for first graders.
First graders benefit from the expertise of specialty teachers in the areas of Spanish, Music, P.E., Art, and Spiritual Nurture. Participation in music presentations, chapel interpretations of scripture readings, and several in-class presentations enhance the development of the children’s confidence and poise.
Homework consists of language arts, math, and reading, but does not exceed 20 minutes a night. Assignments reinforce lessons taught during class.