Students in First Grade make enormous progress in language development. They also learn the concept of large numbers. They begin to operate logically with concrete materials. Relationships with peers can be a bit rocky this year. Because play begins to be focused on creating rules, conflict is part of the game. They begin to learn why rules promote fairness and enhance responsibility. Children’s friendships at six tend to be among the children in their immediate social environment in the classroom. Two or more children will play together with toys, creating their own games and rules. However, concepts of fairness at six are rudimentary and may not be agreed on by a play group. Six-year olds need clear rules and prescribed routines. The demands of first grade may create tension in six-year olds. Twirling hair, foot tapping, scratching or picking sores may be common, along with irritability and crying easily. They like encouragement and praise. They need to know that it is okay to make mistakes and that we can even learn from them.
In First Grade, students learn discussion skills, such as taking turns. They work in small groups to solve a problem or create a project collaboratively. They learn to recognize landforms on a map and make a simple map of their neighborhood. Children in First Grade learn about traditions in their own and other cultures. They learn about community helpers and jobs people perform. The life cycle, basic needs of plants and animals, healthy nutrition and safety are also part of our curriculum. In mathematics, children start to add and subtract 2-digit numbers, count US coins, learn basic skills of measurement and tell time to the hour and half hour. At this age students read books independently, with expression, fluency, understanding and attention to punctuation (at a level 15 as determined by the Rigby Literacy Reading Program). They also demonstrate decoding and word recognition strategies and skills.