In Grade One, children are ready to begin to work with memory and thinking in a more concentrated way. They still carry within them much of the imaginative consciousness of early childhood, but are becoming more aware of the world around them.
The curriculum for Grade One focuses on:
- Pictorial and Phonetic Introduction to Letters
- Reading Approached through Writing
- Speech Formation/Dramatics
The grade one curriculum utilizes fairy tales from around the world that address the students’ inner growth and development. Using this literature as a foundation, the teacher plans exercises in reading, writing, and speech. Children are introduced to the letters of the alphabet as forms and sounds. Out of a transformation from picture to symbol, the letters become actual characters to which the children have a relationship. Sound/symbol relationships are practised, and after the majority of letters are introduced, the children practise writing familiar sentences, using phonemic patterns and sight words.
- All Four Operations (addition, subtraction, division, multiplication)
- Geometric Movement
The children learn to do simple arithmetic through movement exercises that involve stomping, clapping and tossing beanbags. Through these exercises, they first experience the qualities of numbers before learning arithmetical operations. The four operations are introduced as four characters in a story. After considerable practise with manipulatives and mental math, they move to the written equations yet remain concretely connected through story and illustration. By the end of grade one, they have been taught to manipulate numbers up to 24 with the four operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, as well as skip counting by 2, 3, 4, 5, and 10.
- Nature Study
Grade ones take regular nature walks and observe the daily and seasonal changes in the natural environment. Nature stories provide a forum in which simple science concepts are introduced.
Social Sciences and Pre-History
- Folk Tales and Ancient Legends
Through the use of fairy tales and ancient legends, students are introduced to a variety of historical and social science concepts in a non-abstract, story-format.
The children are introduced to both second languages orally for the first three years of study building on the research that identifies young children’s innate capacity to learn languages from the spoken word.
- Form and Free-hand Drawing
- Watercolour Painting
- Beeswax Modelling
- Class Play
The year begins with the awareness that behind all shapes are two basic forms: straight and curved lines. These two lines are combined in various patterns, as the subject of form or dynamic drawing. These drawings train motor skills, awaken powers of observation, and provide a foundation for the introduction to the letters, and the later study of geometry.
To support fine motor skills and assist in mathematical learnings, knitting is an exceptional tool that supports quiet study and concentration.
- Pentatonic Flute
- Outdoor Activities
Physical activity is a key component in Waldorf education. Seen as a necessity for all children, movement throughout the day supports learning and physical development. An introduction to Eurythmy provides the foundation for future in depth study.