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 life long 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 experiences within the classroom are enhanced with the use of the Reader's Workshop and is complemented by the use of Writer's Workshop which teaches reading and writing skills through whole group as well as individualized instruction. 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.
In addition to having a bank of desktop computers to utilize in the classroom the children also visit the computer lab and further develop technology skills presented in the classroom. Each child is given the opportunity to work at their own computer using programs to practice typing skills, writing, and begin working with multi-media presentations. Beginning in the fall of 2016 iPads will also be available for use in the classroom.
First graders benefit from the expertise of specialty teachers in the areas of Spanish, music, P.E., art, and spiritual nurture. Participation in whole school music presentations, chapel interpretations of scripture readings, and several in class presentations enhance the development of the children’s confidence and poise.
Parent volunteers are always encouraged and are an important part of the first grade program. Children love to see their parents at school. Their presence reinforces the idea that school is important.
First graders also enjoy field trips which include the likes of the Science center, the symphony and more.
Homework consists of language arts, math, and reading, but does not exceed 20 minutes a night. Assignments reinforce lessons taught during class.