First grade offers a curriculum rich in exploration and challenges designed to support the developmental growth of each student, taking into account each child’s physical and emotional as well as academic needs. Activities are interactive and engaging, with students actively participating in the learning experience.
First graders are immersed in a multitude of experiences with the English language, resulting in an exciting year of wonder and growth as they develop a foundation in the mechanics of reading and its application to spelling and written expression. Children are challenged in ways that help them learn to love the world of language.
The first-grade reading program balances literature and word study with a strong phonics-based foundation. The program incorporates reading comprehension strategies and the characteristics of different genres while students read classical and contemporary literature. Students participate in whole group and small group instruction, complemented by independent work and learning stations for reinforcement and practice. The primary goal is that first graders gain meaning, enjoyment, and confidence from their reading.
First-grade spelling focuses on reliable patterns and rules that enable students to spell a high percentage of words without memorization. Students also learn to spell irregular, high-frequency words. As their reading skills progress and they encounter longer words, first graders are taught how to break words into more manageable parts through syllabication patterns and recognition of base words and suffixes.
First graders begin to make the connection between the spoken and the written word. First graders learn to express ideas in simple, complete sentences with structured patterns, and then gradually move to writing more descriptive, complex sentences and multiple sentences on a single topic. Children are taught specific steps in the writing process through mini lessons and writer’s workshops, as well as having opportunities for publication.
First grade uses a simple, developmentally-based curriculum to teach manuscript. Lessons are multi-sensory and teach to all learning styles – visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic.
The first-grade students learn to identify three types of sentences (declarative, exclamatory, and interrogative) and to use appropriate end punctuation for each type.
First grade students develop an in-depth conceptual understanding of numbers, fluency with skills, and confidence in problem-solving. Beginning with hands-on use of manipulatives through a variety of instructional strategies, children gain the foundation for future success in math.
The first-grade social studies curriculum begins with the community as a basis for promoting an understanding of a global world and cultural diversity. Children learn that “community” is a place where people live, work, play, and problem-solve together, and discuss what they can do to become good citizens in their communities.
All students in grades 1-4 participate regularly in co-curricular classes taught by dedicated professionals in specific subject areas, including art, music, science, library, technology and innovation, fitness, Little Chapel, and Spanish. Prospective families will receive more information when they visit campus about how these co-curricular offerings engage our students and help enrich and define the St. Andrew’s experience, while current families should reach out directly to their homeroom or co-curricular teachers or the lower school administration for more details.