First grade is a magical time in the life of a Beauvoir student. Students enter first grade enthusiastic and ready to learn, and first grade provides the framework for children to develop a love of reading and writing, to expand their awareness of the world around them and to apply mathematical concepts to real-life situations. Throughout the day, students are creative, curious, courageous and collaborative. Students work daily to develop the ability to persevere in a challenging moment, take risks, problem-solve and build resilience. Classrooms are bustling with cooperative, cross-curricular projects, activity, and excitement.
The school's social curriculum, woven throughout each aspect of the first grade curriculum, serves as an important component of each first grade classroom. Each day begins with a Morning Meeting, at which teachers and students get to know one another through greetings, sharing and games. During the first six weeks of school, students learn routines and create their hopes and dreams for the year ahead, and from these hopes and dreams, students craft a classroom contract outlining how they want their classroom to function in order for all hopes and dreams to be accomplished. Each classroom creates a distinct community of learners, and first grade students practice being kind and responsible classmates who work and play cooperatively and resolve social conflicts.
First grade teachers rely on a workshop model for instruction in reading, writing, and math. Through this model, students develop the skills to work independently, with a partner, as member of a small group and with the whole class. A typical reading workshop, for example, begins with a reading mini-lesson, followed by guided reading groups, independent reading, and word work. Learning to read is a developmental process and Beauvoir students begin first grade at different stages in the process: Some students are just beginning to read while others have had some experience reading already. Wherever children are in the process, reading instruction helps students develop skills and strategies focused on developing both fluency and comprehension. Writing units taught in first grade include small moments (personal narrative), opinion and persuasive writing, non-fiction writing and realistic fiction, letter writing and more. First grade teachers use Fountas and Pinnell’s Guided Reading as a primary strategy to teach reading, alongside Lucy Calkins’ Reading as another key component of the reading curriculum. Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study is the primary curriculum used in writing.
In addition to honing reading and writing skills, first grade language arts
focuses on the development of active listening and speaking skills, with an emphasis on learning to communicate clearly using words in a meaningful way and actively engaging with a speaker in order to enhance interpersonal communication.
First grade mathematics
encourages children to be investigators, predictors, explorers and risk-takers. The primary math curriculum used in first grade is Contexts for Learning Mathematics. Using specific contexts, students learn numeracy, geometry, fractions, measurement, probability, and how to collect and analyze data. Students make connections between real-life situations and the concepts and skills important to understanding and applying mathematical principles. A short, computational routine called a number string, in which students share strategies for solving related problems, is also an important part of first grade math.
First grade students also participate in meaningful service
projects throughout the year and engage in classes including art
, physical education
, library and technology
, music, movement and drama
, social studies
. A social studies focus on the National Cathedral is a highlight of Beauvoir's first grade, with children studying the architecture, art, people, chapels and grounds of the Cathedral. Children take multiple tours of the Cathedral and learn about its organ, stained glass windows, various chapels and architectural features, as well as observe century-old plantings in the Bishop’s Garden. First graders also join all students in a school-wide global study
of a geographical region of the world. Similarities and differences are studied through exploration of traditions, customs and cultures. Each first grade classroom has a well-stocked classroom library and first grade students make weekly trips to the Beauvoir Library.