1st grade class schedule


Seasonal poems and songs are learned while the children gather around a candle in the morning. By simply repeating the poems once together each morning, they have already learned four lengthy seasonal poems and it's only November!

Autumn Fires

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The gray smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all.
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

~Robert Louis Stevenson


As we leave our circle, we are off to take a neighborhood walk, observing seasonal changes, (plants, trees, leaves, gardens) and, for 3rd  graders, noting changes in weather such as clouds, temperature, precipitation, etc. And you can't blame us if we stop by the neighborhood bakery for our favorite bread! 



As we return home from our walk, we take time to color, paint, or otherwise create something artistic that reflects the seasons and nature we observed on our walk. This is also the time used to do any crafts we may be working on for seasonal festivals. We just finished up some really beautiful watercolor paintings that were turned into Martinmas lanterns and some stunning grape vine leaf crowns!

At this point everyone always seems to be ravenous, so the bread from our walk to the bakery (or crackers/cheese/almonds/fruit/etc) are passed out and everyone refuels for the Main Lesson.


Quality of numbers main lesson


Introduction to Letters unit

First graders are spending time being introduced to the letters and their sounds through stories and writing. Language arts this year ranges from learning the quality of the letters (the letter W sounds like wisdom and a wave and a woman) to understanding word families and special blends (ar, or, er, ir, ur, ch, sh, th, etc). Fairy tales and fables are told to enliven the lesson with images. Writing is introduced and practiced. 

Math starts with a beautiful unit on the quality of numbers. What is one? What is two? One is myself. Two is opposites and pairs. The four processes (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) are personified (animalified?? haha) as four busy squirrels who have 4 different jobs to do. The first graders have lots of practice multiplying, dividing, adding, and subtracting with nuts and jewels since hands-on math is key to understanding these concepts. Songs and games are learned that help them learn counting "by twos" or "by threes" so that multiplication tables come easily as the year progresses. 

Everyone brings a sack lunch!

After lunch we burn off a little steam and release the children for a free play time. Jump roping, leaf raking, basketball hooping, lego playing, and general mayhem take up most of this happy time.

On most days, knitting is picked up casually throughout the day by the kids who are really excited about it, but on Thursdays, after lunch, Ms Lesley comes to really teach us knitting. The kids go from learning the basic casting-on skills to knitting their first stitches and finally completing projects on their own. Little verses are learned to help remember the hand motions: In through the front door, once around the back, out through the window, and off pops Jack!!


Story of the World Volume 1: Ancient Times by Susan Weiss Bauer

This history program presents history chronologically and in story form. History is told from the first nomads that wandered through Mesopotamia through the fall of Rome. Fun hands-on projects and map-work is done to help these stories become a reality for the children. Carving their names into clay like an ancient Mesopotamian, dressing up like a Pharaoh, and learning the stories of a pesky spider named Anansi from ancient Africa are just a few of the fun things the kids will do this year.


First graders take lyre/flute/singing lessons from Ms. Kim Vachon on Fridays. Kim is a graduate of the Waldorf School. The third graders are starting violin this year, but the first graders are just cutting their teeth on instruments through imitating their teachers movements.  After music they do a hands-on art project with our resident artist (and, school mother) Brigitte Bolger. After lunch and a little free-play, the whole school "suits up" and gets ready for their one-on-one private swim lessons at the University of Illinois, Chicago.