The first major stage of early childhood development is now coming to a close. There is, in the Class 1 child, less rapid physical development; growth forces are now concentrated on independent, representational, pictorial thinking. The child is now ready for the beginning of ‘formal’ education.
At Casuarina Steiner School, Kindergarten teachers assess children for readiness for entering Class 1. The child is about to embark on a journey with a class teacher that will last several years.
In Class 1 the children are developing social skills to work as a harmonious and co-operative group. The Main Lessons provide the foundations the children will require as they progress through their school years.
Physically, children are experiencing the change of teeth, in particular the arrival of their first molars. Head to body size ratio changes and limbs grow longer. There is often a loss of ‘baby fat’.
Emotionally, children still possess a level of dreaminess, but are becoming more connected with the world around them, especially with nature and others.
Cognitively, the ability to focus is improving but concentration is still limited. The child is full of imagination and lives in a world of colour and pictorial thinking. The child responds to learning through pictorial and rhythmic activities.
Socially, the child has a greater wish to perform independent action rather than imitation. This is a gradual change in their development over time.
Needs of this age
At this age children need to feel secure and supported in their emerging independence as they move into a more formal school environment.
Connectedness is important as children experience themselves within a sense of wholeness – as individuals upon the earth, relating to nature and other human beings, to be able to relate to the world with wonder and reverence.
They need to gain meaning, to relate abstract symbols (letters and numbers) to their worldly experience.
Class 1 Curriculum
In Class 1, the most important way of meeting a child’s needs is in the way content is introduced. The gradual change from activity and imitation in the kindergarten, to more formal learning in Class 1 is facilitated by involving the feeling life – through stories, rhythm, pictures and songs. These help to connect the new concepts to the child’s own experience.
The fairy tale is the fundamental picture for the children of Class 1 as the children listen to fairy tales from around the world on the one hand and stories of the natural and dreamtime world on the other. In essence the fairy story is a soul journey that speaks to the inner life of the child who instinctively understands the trials undergone by the hero or heroine. Listening to and retelling such stories is the foundation for literacy, numeracy and science main lessons throughout the year.
- Form drawing – abstract modelling and drawing of shapes using beeswax or their own bodies, in readiness for writing
- Introduction to the Alphabet and Numbers – each letter is introduced through stories and pictures chosen for their relationship with that letter. This way each letter develops its own significance
- The Four Processes: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are introduced through personification in story and picture, giving character and moral qualities to these abstract concepts eg. The addition character may accumulate and hoard his wealth, while the division character may divide and share his kingdom
- Fairy Tales – based on archetypal images, imaginative stories, fairy stories and folk tales we nurture the child’s sense of wholeness and morality
- Nature Stories and activities – showing the seasons and cycles of the natural world we help bring an understanding of the oneness of humankind, nature and the heavens
- The Four Seasons – celebrated through seasonal festivals and foods, and regular bush walking
Key Main Lesson Topics
- Introduction to the Alphabet
- Introduction to Numbers
- The Four Processes: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
- Fairy Tales
- Nature Stories
- The Four Seasons
Other subjects or practices
- Music and dance
- Movement / Extra Lesson
Other items required
- Sheepskin rug for chair
- Pentatonic Wooden Recorder (available from school office)