First grade curriculum is built on daily routines that provide form, structure and rhythm for independent work and group activities. The first graders are introduced to the letters of the alphabet through oral storytelling and chalkboard drawings. The teachers lead the children from concrete representational pictures to abstract letter symbols. In these stories letters become familiar characters that engage the student’s imagination and strengthen memory. Students practice sound and symbol relationships and begin writing short sentences. These activities prepare children with the literacy skills necessary for the transition into reading.
To develop numeracy skills, students experience numbers through stories that identify their qualities and functions. For example, there is one sun; day and night are two. Characters gather to add and share to divide. The students are introduced to the four primary mathematical operations as individual characters in a story. Mathematics is further supported experientially through rhythmic and physical activities, lively counting and sequencing work, as well as through movement in eurythmy. After considerable practice with manipulatives and mental math, the teacher introduces the written symbols for the four arithmetic operations.
The first grader also experiences the curriculum through natural sciences, fairy tales, handwork, music, painting, drawing and modeling. An awareness of cultural history is explored through stories from around the world, such as the Anansi folktales from Africa.