First Grade Overview

First grade is a child’s introduction to the collective being of a class. We nurture a deep reverence for the earth, compassion for classmates and a healthy respect for every living thing. From knitting to numbers, folk music to the phases of the moon, we help first graders discover the wonders of our world and understand the rhythm of life.


1st Grade Curriculum at a Glance


Form Drawing: Straight and Curved Lines

Language Arts: Learning the Consonants

Math: The Quality of Numbers & Writing Numbers

Language Arts: Consonants Continued & Introduction to the Vowels

Math: Basic Math Operation I: Adding & Subtracting

Language Arts: Phonics & Reading

Math: Basic Math Operations II: Multiplication & Division

Language Arts: Word Families, Reading & The Play

Math: Flexible Thinking/Problem Solving


1st Grade Curriculum in Detail


  • Learning the Alphabet: Imaginative introduction to letters through stories and images from fairy tales

  • Writing: Capital and lowercase letters, words, simple sentences, free renderings

  • Reading: Phonics, word families, sight words, first readers

  • Vocabulary: Building vocabulary from hearing and reviewing fairy tales and folk tales

  • Speech/Recitation: Rhymes, verses and tongue twisters, with hand and body movements

  • Drama: The First Grade Play

MATHJavier Alvarez

  • The Quality of Numbers, 1-12

  • Counting by 1s, 2s, 3s, 5s, 10s

  • Roman numerals and Arabic numerals

  • Forwards and backwards counting and writing numbers up to 100

  • Number Patterns, Story Problems & Math Games

  • Fact Strategies for Adding: count-on’s, doubles, neighbors, fast 10s, fast 9s, left overs, combinations of 10

  • Fact Strategies for Subtractions: count-backs, comparisons, zeros, doubles, tens, nines, neighbors, left-overs

  • Imaginative introduction to the 4 processes: addition, subtraction, multiplication, & division

CHINESE (First semester) Jennifer Carroll

  • Through songs, poems, rhymes, games and movements, children begin to build vocabulary, develop good pronunciation, and oral comprehension.

  • Speaking develops through repetition and recitations.

  • Intro to Chinese culture & traditions with celebration of mid-Autumn Festival and Chinese New Year

  • Classes are taught mostly in Chinese.

MUSIC Melissa Archer

  • Unison singing with emphasis on the pentatonic scale

  • Seasonal games, music expressed through gesture and rhythm

  • Seasonal songs performed at assemblies

  • Pentatonic flute introduced mid-year

HANDWORKCynthia Bower

  • Finger crocheting

  • Knitting-- cast on, knit stitch, cast off

  • Braiding

  • Simple hand-sewing

  • Projects: horse reins, flute case, tooth fairy pillow, and teddy bear

ACORN PROGRAM Jamie Blea & Michael McGlone

  • Introduction to science through experiencing nature

  • Observational skills honed through nature walks

  • Nature stories

  • Hands-on experiences through seed collection, bulb planting, and sustain

FORM DRAWING Javier Alvarez

  • Training hand-eye coordination through drawing of simple forms

  • Strengthening sense of spatial relationships and proportion through drawing of rhythmic running forms

  • Supporting handwriting skills through practice and mastery of straight and curved line formation

WATERCOLOR PAINTING & DRAWING Sarah Guneratne & Javier Alvarez

  • Introduction to watercolor painting through color stories

  • Relationships of primary and secondary colors

  • Instruction on the use of beeswax block crayons

  • Daily drawing of stories into main lesson books

EURYTHMY Holly Powell

  • Beautiful, flowing, en-souled movement to poems & stories, accompanied by live classical piano music

  • Strengthens children’s groundedness in their bodies

  • Aligns children’s movement with their breath

  • Centers children within themselves while bringing awareness of their connection with the group


SPANISH Jenna Zapata

  • Songs, poems, rhymes, and games build vocabulary and develop listening comprehension

  • Repetition and recitations develop good pronunciation and confidence in speaking

  • First vocabulary includes numbers, names of body parts, animals, family members, and more

  • Listening comprehension developed through listening to the teacher and learning to respond

  • Classes are taught mostly in Spanish.

GAMES Margie Glatte

  • Cooperative circle and line games

  • Ball-handling skills

  • Motor skills and coordination through tumbling and balancing activities

  • Yoga

  • Continued work on social dynamics that arise through games

READING GROUPS- Javier Alvarez & Nina Gallwey

  • Class breaks up into small groups, each with a Reading Helper

  • Children take turns reading

  • Children deepen their understanding of phonics, word families, etc. introduced in first semester


  • Receiving a 6th grade buddy; weekly buddy walks and outings, including to the pumpkin patch

  • Lantern Walk (November), Winter Assembly (December), Friday Assemblies with whole school, Thanksgiving and Advent Assemblies, Class Play, Grandparents’ Day, May Day; Friday walks, end-of-year class picnic