There is a conscious difference between the Kindergarten and the Grades. The children leave behind a day dominated by free play, story, and circle games to a day that introduces a more structured curriculum. The Class Teachers move towards guiding students in their work. First graders spend a lot of time developing social skills, whether in the circle activities of main lesson or the circle games of the games class. The Class Teacher works with body orientation (right/left, up/down, forward/backwards, and diagonals), developing spatial coordination and fine-motor skills. In addition to the movement of circle time, the teacher guides a spatial awareness in the students when knitting, flute playing, form drawing, and writing. Through playful exercises (bean bag games, zoo exercises) the students overcome midline boundaries. Rhythm imbues all activities. First graders learn to be guided in drawing and in painting, learning from the teacher as a model. They are also guided in learning to do independent work for the first time, moving away from the group activities of Kindergarten. As the straight line develops into the curved line, then into a letter of the alphabet, the student’s artistic language, through the rendering of the Class Teacher, is also developed as students grapple with learning the alphabet, written and orally, and the new sounds and phonics of language and numbers.
The students are told stories that present archetypes found in fairy tales, creating a sense that although there are dangers and challenges, the world is a safe and good place to be. The teacher fosters a sense of wonder and devotion for the natural world by the stories that are told, using natural materials in the classroom, and leading nature walks. The experience of painting, singing, drawing, flute playing, and beeswax modeling awakens an aesthetic sensitivity to color, form, and musical tone. The teacher wants the child to experience and feel that life is beautiful.
In addition to main lesson work with the Class Teacher, students also learn Foreign Languages, Games and P.E., Handwork, Painting, Modeling, Form Drawing, Woodworking, and Instrumental and Choral Music.