Imagine the maiden flight of a Monarch butterfly and you’ll have an idea of the exciting experience our First Graders get to witness when they release these beautiful creatures into the wild after a study of their life cycle. Several trips to the fields and trails around the School campus produce caterpillars found on native milkweed plants. In the classroom they watch and nurture their caterpillars and marvel as they transform into a chrysalis. Bringing the science experiment full circle the entire class joins in the celebratory monarch release when they turn into butterflies.
Learning to read independently is an exciting benchmark in First Grade. Weekly trips to the well-stocked Pennfield Library keep these young and enthusiastic readers engaged and interested in learning more. In addition to reading stories, exercises in creative writing and imaginative original storytelling help to build spelling, grammar and handwriting skills.
A highlight of this year is participating for the first time in the cross-grade, Lower School Social Studies stage production. Students work cooperatively on this winter project with Second and Third Graders. Together they research their theme and choreograph a lively presentation, complete with music that they present to the entire School. Every student has a speaking part and the entire Pennfield community comes out to support this inspiring performance.
As eager learners First Grade students pick up easily on Spanish vocabulary as they play games and sing songs in Spanish class. Learning to express themselves in a different language opens their minds to new ways of thinking about and understanding the world around them.
Creative exercises and games using clocks, money and thermometers allow students to hone their mathematical measurement skills. It is also an important year of memorizing addition and subtraction facts and integrating them into fun mathematical relations and number stories.
This is an important year of laying a solid educational foundation from which each student can spring from for years to come. Special care is taken to make sure that every child is seen as an individual learner and leaves First Grade with the skills and tools they will need to move forward with curiosity and confidence.