In first grade, children begin to “see” pictures, “hear” stories and “divine” meaning at conscious levels; they also become more able to imagine and think actively. At this time teachers—who progress through three grades with their students—create a “rhythm” for students’ school lives that will continue in core learning areas through all the grades:
Language Arts – Story telling and fairy tales are used to help children master alphabet shapes and forms.
Mathematics – The qualities of numbers, and exploration of whole, natural objects are used to introduce counting. Arithmetic concepts are introduced through choral speaking, stepping and clapping.
Music – Use of the pentatonic scale and simple flutes, as well as songs based on seasonal themes provide early exposure to harmony, finger coordination, concentration and breath control.
Knitting – Knitting is an indispensable tool for helping to strengthen eye-hand coordination and to enhance children’s ability to concentrate and perceive patterns, particularly at this age when the brain is still developing.
Art – In first grade, children directly experience color by painting with watercolors (wet on wet technique). They use beeswax to express feelings, and follow teachers’ work to learn about basic forms.
Foreign Language – Aside from English, at the WCS youngsters have the opportunity to begin hearing and speaking Russian beginning in grade one. As the school grows it is the intent to add a second foreign language so that children will be introduced to myriad sounds and language systems. This early introduction to a second language comes at the ideal time in a child’s development.
Science – Nature-oriented lessons are taught through outdoor experiences, animal stories, and observation of seasonal changes.