Reaching first grade is a big milestone in a child’s life. Grade 1 is different from kindergarten and as any concerned parent, you may feel apprehensive about the transition, but you must remember that your child is ready for the transition. By now, he has a developed vocabulary, knows how to use words and language. He will get better at addition and subtraction, and there’s a whole lot of learning involved as he reaches first grade. If you want to know what all the first-grade curriculum includes so that you can prepare your child for the same, read this article!
What Do First Graders Learn?
The curriculum followed in the United States may vary state-by-state. However, certain common subjects and themes are set by the education bodies of state governments, national associations, and school districts to ensure that the students are up to the overall education standards. The school curriculum’s standardised design is to address the knowledge and understanding every student should have at the time of graduation from high school. As the first-grade students are young, they are taught the core concepts in their curriculum compared to the higher grades. The core concepts are part of the larger framework that prepares them for their college education and career.
The young kids entering Grade 1 are expected to have the basic knowledge and understanding of languages, arts, math, social studies, and science. This basic understanding can help them expand their knowledge of these subjects and learn new things quickly and easily in first grade. With the significant focus on learning and writing languages, the first-grade students also learn grammar and writing skills, including capitalisation, punctuation, writing words, and sentences. The first graders also work on their maths, which includes addition and subtraction of small numbers, greater/less than concepts, and identifying shapes and patterns. To impart basic science knowledge to them, they are taught the difference between living and non-living things, the sun and its relation to the Earth, and more. Apart from all this, the students also learn about important events and figures of the United States who shaped the country, and the symbols representing the U.S.
Overview of First Grade Curriculum
The first graders are six or seven years of age and have basic reading skills. The first-grade curriculum is about building on the things learned in kindergarten. The standard first-grade curriculum has subjects of language arts, maths, and sciences. In these subjects, the first-grader learns about numerous topics covering a wide range of things to meet the first-grade learning objective. Apart from these subjects, parents in their 1st grade homeschool curriculum may choose to add other subjects such as social studies, physical education, art, music, or sports.
Explained below are the subjects the first-grade curriculum may include in the US:
The 1st grade math curriculum introduces the basic concepts of maths to the students, as it serves as the building blocks for later years. Students are introduced to problem-solving, number sense, and operations. In kindergarten, the children learn to count, recognize numbers, and sorting them in groups. In the first grade, the maths studies continue to build on the already learned concepts. Students are also introduced to new things, which are given below.
- Using hands-on manipulative such as snap cubes and Cuisenaire rods.
- Addition and abstraction of small numbers or single numbers.
- Learning to tell the time by using an analog clock to the minute.
- Recognizing different coins and notes.
- Counting money.
- Solving simple math word problems.
- Recognizing different shapes and knowing how many sides each shape has.
- Understanding basic place values.
- Learning to read, count, and write whole numbers more than 100.
- Learning to count and group things in ones and tens.
- Learning to compare two or more objects based on length, weight, and volume.
- Identifying more than and less than a given number and learning to use the symbols =, <, and >.
During kindergarten, kids learn to recognize sounds, read, and write alphabets and small words. In the first grade, they learn to read and recognize more complicated words. They also learn strategies to decode words difficult to sound out, or they still haven’t learned. The first graders also learn to answer questions based on the things they read. The first-grader reading curriculum covers the following:
- Comprehension and reading of first grade materials with fluency.
- Retelling the beginning, middle, and ending of the story.
- Comparing the different experiences of characters of a story.
- Identifying similarities or differences between texts of the same subject.
- Identifying and understanding the meaning of words.
The first graders’ motor skills tend to improve during and after kindergarten, so children know the control required to write. Though the formal writing really begins in the first grade and the child is expected to do creative writing tasks in addition to the handwriting skill work. The writing curriculum in 1st grade covers the following:
- Writing upper and lowercase alphabets legibly.
- Learning to use capital letters for proper nouns or names and at the beginning of the sentences.
- Understanding the use of punctuations such as period, question mark, etc.
- To correctly spell commonly used words and words in their reading material.
- The use of descriptive words in writing.
- Learning to write a narrative or story with two or more events with some details included and having an ending.
First-grade science focuses on finding patterns and exploring the natural world. In the first-grade science curriculum, the child learns:
- About life sciences or learning about plants, animals, and insects and their common characteristics.
- The life cycle of a butterfly.
- About earth science, for example about air and weather.
- Weather patterns and how they aid in the water cycle.
- About simple tools used to measure weather conditions such as thermometer or wind wane.
- How the environment and the water cycle helps animals and plants to thrive.
- Physical sciences and learning about different properties of solids, liquids, and gases.
5. Social Studies
In the 1st grade social studies curriculum, children learn:
- The concept of community.
- How neighbourhoods form a city, how many cities form a state, and how many states make a nation.
- How different community components work together as a cohesive unit.
- About local government, public institutions such as the library.
6. Visual Arts
In the first-grade visual arts curriculum, the child learns:
- To identify different types of lines, shapes, colours, forms, and textures.
- To create different shapes and colour them.
- To identify primary and secondary colours.
- To create secondary colours by mixing two or more primary colours.
The Grade 1 curriculum is designed to teach and advance the skills of children of this age. Some children may feel overwhelmed with the transition from easy learning style of kindergarten to formal learning of first grade. So it’s advised that parents discuss it with their child’s teachers and make the transition process easier.
Also Read: Spelling Words to Teach Your Grade 1 Kid