First grade acts as a bridge between the kindergarten and the grade school years. It begins with the discovery that behind all forms are two basic principles: the straight and the curved line. Children find these shapes in their own bodies, in the classroom, and in the world beyond. Straight and curved lines are then practiced through walking, drawing in the air and sand, on the blackboard, and finally, on paper. These form drawings train motor skills, awaken children’s powers of observation, and provide a foundation for introducing the alphabet, which is done in an imaginative, artistic manner.
Language arts skills include: an introduction to phonics, printing, memorization and recitation of poetry, fairy tales, folk tales and classic children’s literature. Not every child can read independently by the end of first grade, but all gain a profoundly rich language experience. All four operations are introduced in arithmetic. Students practice simple addition and subtraction facts; they count rhythmically by twos, threes, fives, etc., in order to begin learning the multiplication tables; and they use manipulatives to learn about division and reinforce their multiplication skills.