First grade marks the big step from early childhood into elementary school, a time when children face many new and exciting challenges. The first-grade program is built upon the educational foundation developed in our Early Childhood program.
Further development of Language Arts is an integral part of first grade. Creative writing is emphasized through poetry and stories, and independent reading is fostered through instruction in guided reading groups and supplemented with applied practice in personally selected leveled literature. Fiction, biographies, folktales and fables are all explored. Skill instruction concentrates on the development of phonetic skills, fluency, comprehension, retention and understanding word meanings. A variety of projects, such as book reports and art activities, are incorporated into the curriculum helping to reinforce reading and public speaking skills. Our students are exposed to a variety of literary genre. Throughout first grade teachers cultivate a desire to learn through reading within our students .
The use of Math In Focus: Singapore Math provides first-grade students with a cohesive and sequential pathway to developing a strong conceptual understanding of number and operations through problem-solving. Students develop number sense through a variety of activities that use concrete manipulatives to represent number, place value and operations. As students experience how numbers work, they incorporate the use of pictorial strategies, such as number bonds, as they begin to move toward working with numbers in a more abstract manner. Students develop their ability to compose and decompose numbers, a critical skill that enhances their ability to calculate mentally when problem solving. Students master basic facts and tackle complex addition and subtraction problems, develop concepts of time and money, and apply measurement skills to real-life problems.
First-grade science is inquiry based and hands-on. The scientific method and laboratory skills are reinforced, and a wide variety of experiments and discussions take place. Topics introduce students to concepts in earth science, biology, chemistry, environmental science and physics. The use of technology tools further allow students to explore and better understand how things work.
Technology plays an important role in the first-grade curriculum. A project-based integrated approach to learning a variety of technology tools is used. Student instruction in technology can take place once a cycle or as often as necessary to complete a project in a timely manner. Students are introduced to word processing, computerized drawing, age-appropriate Internet use and keyboarding. They also begin developing research skills using the Internet. Internet safety is emphasized and computer and/or Ipad use is integrated into all classroom learning.
Organization and study skills are taught in first grade as well, including managing homework folders, and planning for projects and tests, so that by the time first-graders progress to second grade, strong independent study habits are in place and they are prepared for the next level of challenge.