The Hartsbrook School

First Grade

1LeviWebDevelopmental Picture of the First Grade Student

The first grader is ready to begin formal learning after the foundational work of early childhood. The day now has a definite schedule with a series of classes in the morning and rest, free play, crafts, and walks in the afternoon. Many new subjects, such as world language, games class, handwork and eurythmy, are introduced while children also master basic classroom skills like raising hands or caring for school supplies and their belongings.

Highlights of the Curriculum

The first grade student enters the rich world of formal learning in main lesson each morning. The content of main lesson reflects two main areas – language arts and mathematics. Activities include reciting verses and poems, singing songs, movement exercises, and tongue twisters during the group part of the lesson and focused individual work time at desks on main lesson books which are the vehicle through which the student recreates and makes their own the material presented by the teacher.

Instruction works from the whole to parts and from experience to understanding. In language arts, the students are introduced to the letters of the alphabet through stories and imaginative pictures. Students may also move the forms of the letters if that seems best to the teacher. They then work with the sounds and forms of these letter, with word families, with rhyming words and finally with the constructions of simple sentences. These are written in the main lesson book so that the child can read what he or she has learned. All of this prepares the student for the transition into reading.

The story curriculum for first grade is folk and fairy tales in which the children are presented with the archetypes of different human qualities and pictures of the human being forging a path through the world. On a practical level, the students begin to learn the skills needed to be part of a class community and to work with others.

In mathematics, the child begins by experiencing the quality of the different numbers – for example, the unity of one and the polarities in two like day and night or hot and cold. Math is experienced through counting and clapping games, mental math journeys and movement too. Students are introduced to the qualities and reasons for the four mathematical operations and they learn the symbolic way of representing numbers on paper and the signs for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. This work is also recreated in the self-made main lesson books of each child.

Subjects Studied

Language Arts Students are introduced to the letters of the alphabet through lively and imaginative stories and pictures. Letters, words and simple stories are written down in main lesson books which each student creates. The first grader is also exposed to a rich variety of language through poems, tongue twisters, and stories told or read by the teacher.
Mathematics Students are introduced to numbers and their qualities and also learn to manipulate numbers up to 100 using the four processes.
World Languages Each student is introduced to the contrasting world languages of Spanish and German through oral instruction which includes story, songs and games.
Movement Students begin each day by moving during the more active component of main lesson. There are also two recesses each day on our lower school playground. There are also two periods of Games classes each week.
Eurythmy Students have this movement art two periods/week and students learn coordination and awareness of each other as they all move together to a story or music.
Handwork Students develop coordination and focus in learning to knit.
Music The students sing with their class teacher each day and also learn to play pentatonic flutes.
Art Students continue with watercolor painting and also begin beeswax modeling, form drawing and crayon drawing.