As we enter the final months of the school year, it is exciting to see how much the the1st grade has grown, both physically and academically! Language Arts is very much alive in the children as they have now been introduced to all of the letters of the alphabet, with a strong focus on the beginning aspects of writing. There is an emphasis on letter and sound awareness and putting the sounds together which includes the digraphs or "best friend" letters: th, sh, ch, wh, tch, ck, and the "blend friends": br, pr, cr, bl, fr, st, etc. All of this has been done through rich stories, imaginative games and pretend stores that have been strategically introduced throughout the language arts blocks.
The children love recalling the stories they have heard and remembering the stories strengthens comprehension and facilitates skills in observation. They are also working on penmanship and spacing, along with working together to figure out how the words would be written based on the sounds it they contain. At this time in the year, they all have become very good at sounding out words they hear in class and many are coming up to write them down on the chalkboard every morning! Writing the small letters on their worksheets with a good pencil grip has improved the form and direction of each letter and they are well into the rhythm of grade school and truly enjoy sitting at their desks to write with eagerness and intention.
Like the A,B,Cs of Language Arts, the 1,2,3s of Arithmetic are coming alive as well. The 1st grade children are continuing to deepen their understanding of the four processes of math. Numbers and math concepts are experienced in the classroom in a way that encompasses the thinking, feeling and willing aspects of each child's learning processes.
From a very practical vantage point, the children learn numbers and the basics of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing - up to the number 12, in ways that are active through experience but also repeated throughout the day. The goal is to teach this in a multi-dimensional way. All of these newly introduced concepts build on previous math blocks and establish their math foundation.
Waldorf Education's Method of Teaching Arithmetic:
• Integrates recitation, rhythmical movement and math manipulatives
• Utilizes both visual and oral approaches to numbers
• Draws on the children's experiences in handwork classes, world languages and practical life to elicit an interest in and love of numbers
• Works from the whole to the parts
• Always works with two or more operations at a time to help children's mental mobility
The following TEDx Talk further discusses the holistic approach to teaching at Waldorf. Teaching through the capacities of the children. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imaW-TabxOE