Grade 1 Curriculum
In grade one, the students are stepping into a new developmental stage and they are now ready to learn the new form of working in a classroom environment.
The curriculum content supports the student of this age in many ways. The letters of the alphabet are brought to the students through classic fairy tales and folk tales which are chosen to the archetypical images and universal truths. The students hear the story, draw pictures from it, then discover a letter within the picture as guided by the teacher. The teacher also introduces speech work.
Students experience the world of numbers through experiential activities. They dance, step, clap and transfer this bodily understanding into appreciating the quality of specific numbers, their relationships in the form of times tables and work with addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication. In addition to movement and rhythm, materials such as beeswax, beads, and gems are often used to support the students’ tactile understanding of mathematical concepts.
Grade one form drawing works mainly with the straight and curved line. It strengthens spatial orientation, and prepares students for writing and geometry.
- Listening and speaking; re-telling the previous day’s story/lesson
- Introduction to upper case (archetypal) letters through fairy tale stories and pictures, simple phonics and the writing of letter beautifully and eventually short sentences
- Further assimilation language through gross motor/whole body movement, gesture; sensory experiences with sand, paint and beeswax
- Daily recitation of poems, tongue twisters and songs which are seasonally or story based
- Writing words, verses and songs they know, and ‘reading’ them from their writing
- Practice and perform a short choral play by heart, from a fairy tale, using clear speech
- Reading together as a class from their own main lesson books
- Attention to pencil grip and sitting posture while writing given by teacher
- Working knowledge of the four processes and symbols
- Working from the whole to the part
- Quality of numbers 1-12, roman numerals 1-10, Arabic numerals 1-100
- Counting forward and backward 1-100, number bonds up to 10, difference between odd and even
- Rhythmic stepping and clapping with emphases on different numbers; preparation for times tables
- Times tables, building knowledge of tables 1-12
- Simple mental math in narrative form
Students in the first two grades participate in regular nature walks where they learn about the complexities and richness of plant and animal life. In these early grades the students have experiences and hear stories that engender enthusiastic involvement and respect for the world around them-an important basis for later studies in biology, physics, chemistry and the other sciences.
Fairy tales and nature stories are told throughout the year. The former portrays archetypal truths and images of our humanity (such as good and evil, courage and perseverance), while the latter instructs, reaffirms and enlivens a first grader’s innate love for the natural world.
French & German
In Grades 1, 2 and 3 the foreign language teacher works strongly with the element of imitation. The French/German language is introduced through group recitation, singing, verses, finger games, movement, dances, and circle games. The content is understood through gestures, props and imitation and deals with weather, festivals, colors, numbers, parts of the body and clothing.
Much of the material is learned by heart and learning is very much a group activity. Individual children will gradually start speaking on their own as it reflects their comfort level with the new language. In the early Grades the emphasis is on having the children experience the sounds, gestures and mood of the foreign language.
In Grade 1, the children learn to sing songs with actions. They learn to echo rhythms, pitch and dynamics and to play simple songs on the pentatonic recorder. These songs are learned by rote, through imitation of the teacher.
The main Lesson teacher takes the class for one movement class per week, along with a nature walk for two periods a week. The classes are held outside unless the weather is extreme then the classroom is used. Activities and games are chosen that strengthen the students sense of movement in space, their sense of balance and their sense of others around them. Consideration is given to activities that engage their gross motor muscles in a coordinated way, and balancing games that improve fine motor movements. Each class consists of bean bag or ball work, a running/tag game, then a group/circle game, and skipping. In addition, Audrey McAllister’s Zoo Exercises are incorporated into the lesson depending on the needs of the students.
The presentation of activities and games in these grades is made vivid and alive with appropriate images, poems or even a story. A ‘walk through’ of the game is completed before the real play begins. Weaving nature, the seasons, animals, and fairy-tale themes in this way into the activities engages the students’ imagination and helps to keep them involved.
- Access for free drawing with coloured beeswax crayons
- The teacher models reverence for the task which the children imitate
- The children are given the three primary colours with which to paint, out of which they will experience the secondary colours
- Have an art class once per week with their class teacher doing wet-on-wet painting reflecting the subject matter of the main lesson.
- The creation of main lesson books with beeswax crayons and/or coloured pencil crayons.
- Form is brought in gradually from grade 1.
Practical Arts: Handwork
Introduction to knitting with wool – starting with potholder and then a recorder case; knitting with two needles – L and R hands work together; requires hand/eye coordination and aids brain development; power of concentration is awakened; math skills – ordering, patterning, problem solving, counting stitches and rows.
Students have weekly nature walks for 1 ½ hours on Friday afternoons. Other trips may include an apple orchard, pumpkin patch and donkey sanctuary.