||At the Rose Ceremony that welcomes the class into the grade school, each first grader receives a buddy from the lead class, with whom s/he will interact often during the year. The first grader is gently led into the joyous world of formalized learning—a big change from the familiar early childhood setting. The rich, beautiful curriculum stimulates the imagination, feeds the soul, and lays the foundation for the capacity to understand ideas.
The archetypal Fairy Tales speak deeply to the students’ souls and help develop basic human capacities. The alphabet is discovered, letter by letter, through images of the world around us; the basic units of writing are experienced as the curve and the straight line. The writing down of poems that the children know by heart begins their journey to reading and spelling. Arithmetic, including the four processes, is introduced by the exciting discovery of the qualities of numbers and patterns everywhere.
This year’s important discoveries also include learning to stand in line, raise hands, wait patiently for a turn, work quietly and independently at a desk, listen to and follow instructions, and treat classmates, teachers, and materials with care and respect. Social and cognitive skills are fostered through play, singing, reciting poetry, playing pentatonic flutes, and performing in the class play.
Throughout the day, the children move. This builds spatial awareness, integrates the senses, forms the foundation for memory, and strengthens the body for future learning. Celebrating the seasons, festivals, and holidays builds the child’s reverent relationship to the earth and the spirit. Striving to create beauty in everything stimulates a lifelong enthusiasm for learning and creativity.
Field trips may include parks, nature preserves, orchards.
First graders go home before lunch on Thursdays so they can rest from their newly learning-intensive lifestyle.