First grade marks a clear and important transition from the nurturing, communal experience of kindergarten into an awakening, increasingly self-aware, classroom experience.
Establishing the rhythms and habits of classroom life and work forms a positive, enthusiastic foundation for all subsequent school learning. Reading and writing begin now as do early arithmetic and Science classes all punctuated by art, music and movement. The relationship between education and curiosity, joy and engagement only deepens over time.
The second grader has a sense that there is more to life than early childhood’s innocent understanding that “the world and I are one,” and students possess a dawning awareness of both human greatness and weakness.
Here we read, hear, study, discuss and write stories – often illustrating exaggerated traits such as greed, boastfulness and stubbornness – and contrasting them with the lives of exemplary people who have overcome these negatives. Math studies intensify, Science and Social Studies continues and we are physically stronger.
Significant psychological, cognitive, and physiological changes touch the increasingly self-aware 3rd grader, and the student’s newfound separateness from his or her surroundings can be at once confusing and excitingly self-empowering.
Stories from the Bible – along with hands-on instruction science and art classes – help students develop a positive relationship with others and their environment. Math gets practical with real-life applications calculating measurement and money.
Each student begins to explore emerging personal interests, gifts, talents and challenges, and the fourth grader’s individuality is celebrated.
Reading chapter books, writing book reports and crafting compositions represent a big jump in literacy. In Science the wonder of the systems of the human body are uncovered and how to keep healthy. And by focusing on plants and the land, students develop a deep connection and respect for their surroundings.
Cognitively, fifth grade students approach both their studies—and indeed life itself—in an increasingly realistic and reasoning manner, physically, they attain a degree of balance, ease and grace supported by a rich athletic curriculum.
To meet students’ emerging consciousness, the curriculum transitions to a focus on recorded history, biography and geography. Botany and zoology foster astute scientific observation. Musical instrument study begins giving the student a new vocabulary to communicate in.