The first grade classrooms, located right next to the Kindergarten classrooms, provide the perfect progression in the student’s academic and social development. The rooms look and feel similar to Kindergarten, but the curriculum changes to reflect the children’s increasing abilities. This is the year in which the world of books becomes available to most of them, independent of aid from adults. This is the year in which students begin to get a taste of the power of their own written words. This is the year in which they really begin to grasp the reality that they have choices to make which affect others.
Our first grade teachers, along with full-time support teachers, continue to build on reading and writing foundations laid in Kindergarten, adding punctuation, more accurate spelling, the introduction of writing genres (including poetry) and the comparing and contrasting of information. Measurement, time and money are concepts expanded in the first grade math curriculum. These students develop both concrete and abstract reasoning, and use a variety of manipulatives, everything from Legos to unifix cubes, to further establish their number sense and learn their math facts. Capitalizing on a child’s natural confidence, public speaking and recitation are introduced on a weekly basis through poems that the children love to memorize and recite.
We believe that students are most successful when they feel that they are members of a supportive learning community that emphasizes cooperation, responsibility, and independence. Children learn best when they are actively involved and when they are making connections between learning across the disciplines.
Our programs are activity-based and differentiated to meet the needs of each individual. Children receive whole group, small group, and individual instruction. Students are placed in flexible groups for specific skill work in areas such as guided reading, writing, and math. These groups will shift, depending on the particular skills needed by individuals.
Our literacy program is multi-faceted and carefully woven throughout our curriculum. As your child progresses through First Grade, she/he will gain skills in phonemic awareness, phonics, word study, and spelling patterns through meaningful reading and writing experiences. She will learn to use reading comprehension skills such as making connections, visualizing, inferring, questioning, and synthesizing.
In math, our lessons are designed to instill an appreciation and understanding of the important building blocks of math. From our daily calendar routines, which incorporate various mathematical content such as patterns, graphing, etc., to our daily math lessons, children have consistent, multi-level experiences that allow them to construct their own mathematical knowledge and explain their thinking.
Throughout the year we cover a variety of themes and topics in science including, but not limited to, plants, life cycles, weather, animals in our local habitat and their adaptations, and creatures of the tidal zone. Our garden serves as an extension of our classroom throughout the year and provides firsthand experience in the lifecycles of plants and insects, the needs of living things, weather patterns and the cycle of the seasons.
In first grade, our immediate classroom community provides many opportunities for social learning. From the first week of school, students are engaged in the process of determining individual rights and responsibilities within the group. Other areas of focus are identifying feelings and learning how to handle them constructively, basic geography and map skills, and important American symbols.
We believe that learning should be fun and we seek to help each child feel significant and valued as a member of our first grade community.