1st Grade - Lighting the Mind and Soul with Storytelling

 

Developmental Picture of the Student

When students enter the 1st Grade they experience a significant transition from Early Childhood classes (or other Kindergarten programs) to the Grade School. In first grade the children are presented with the archetypes of the human being through fairy tales. The characters in each story represent positive attributes, such as courage, honesty and goodness that can influence the young child’s emotional intelligence and social development.

How the Curriculum Meets the 1st Grader

The curriculum is built on daily routines that provide form, structure and rhythm for independent work and  group activities. The first graders are introduced to the letters of the alphabet through oral storytelling and chalkboard drawings. The teachers lead the children from concrete representational pictures to abstract letter symbols.

In these stories letters become familiar characters that engage the student’s imagination and strengthen memory. Students practice sound and symbol relationships and begin writing short sentences. These activities prepare children with the literacy skills necessary for the transition into reading. To develop numeracy skills, students experience numbers through stories that identify their qualities and functions. For example, there is one sun;
day and night are two. Characters gather to add and share to divide.

As they leave the dreamy mood of Early Childhood, first graders begin to awaken to the world around them. They are ready to learn in a new way.

The students are introduced to the four primary mathematical operations as individual characters in a story. Mathematics is further supported experientially through rhythmic and physical activities, lively counting and sequencing work, as well as through movement in eurythmy. After considerable practice with manipulatives
and mental math, the teacher introduces the written symbols for the four arithmetic operations.

The first grader also experiences the curriculum through natural sciences, fairy tales, handwork, music,
painting, drawing and modeling. An awareness of cultural history is explored through stories from around
the world, such as the Anansi folktales from Africa.
 

STUDENT BLOCK BOOK: LETTER FORMS (or NUMERICAL OPERATIONS) MIRRORED IN STORYTELLING

Letterforms (here the "Y" in the story of "Yaweh") are foundational components in the story's narrative & imagery

 

1st GRADE CURRICULUM COMPONENTS:

         
 

STORYTELLING
Teachers share traditional fairy tales and folk tales from around the world, including: Russian, African, Japanese & Grimms stories

LANGUAGE ARTS
Writing is taught by introducing the alphabet through pictures, stories and sound symbols. Literacy is strengthened through vocabulary development, poetry and stories

MATHEMATICS
Foundational operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division are introduced simultaneously in stories demonstrating their qualities and functions

Preparation for the SCIENCES
Teachers read or tell nature stories such as:  Mother West Wind and the Merry Breezes that personify nature and relate its processes and qualities in experiential terms that are meaningful. This provides a basis for entry into the sciences in the upper grades

MOVEMENT
1st and 2nd graders go to the park four afternoons a week and have recess every day. Also each day begins with 30 - 45 minutes of classroom rhythmic movement

   

WORLD LANGUAGES
Students experience alternating 6-week blocks of German and Spanish that provide cultural exposure and develop memory, language and vocabulary skills

ART
Students practice beeswax modeling, “form drawing,” wet-on-wet watercolor painting and traditional drawing

HANDWORK
Knitting for coordination, focus and understanding patterns

MUSIC
- Daily singing and pentatonic flute
 playing
  with class teacher
- Lyre and singing lessons, with special
  subjects teacher

EURYTHMY
Establishes timing, coordination and spatial awareness

FIELD TRIPS & COMMUNITY EVENTS
The class field trip usually brings students for a day to local nature centers, zoos or museums with a regional, natural and environmental theme involving animals

 


LIFE SKILLS EXPERIENCED IN 1ST GRADE

  • Listening with attention
  • Recalling lessons in review
  • Writing simple sentences
  • Practicing drawing techniques
  • Participating in clean-up duties and regular chores
  • Offering assistance with weekly classroom tasks
  • Following movement activities to develop balance, agility, coordination, and left/right recognition
  • Practicing the four operations of arithmetic
  • Building social relationships