In Class 1 the children are awakening through the wonder of pictures, stories, and rhythmic movement.
The morning in Class 1 begins with a song, a handshake, and the group recitation of a poem. These acts, along with more songs, rhythmic activities, pentatonic flute playing, and recitation are all part of every Class 1 child’s morning experience.
Through stories, the children are introduced to each letter of the alphabet. In this way the children experience the development of language in a very concrete, yet creative way. Instead of abstract symbols the letters become actual characters that the children have a real relationship with. Through this process the children learn from the whole—the story—to the parts—the letters and symbols.
Painting is intended to give the students an experience of working with color rather than immediately creating formed pictures. At first, students work with one color at a time, learning their properties. Then, students explore how colors meet and blend. In coloring and drawing with beeswax crayons, the students imitate the teacher’s work, attempting to draw whole shapes rather than filling in outlines.
Students learn to draw all manner of lines and line patterns in Class 1. Straight lines and curved lines have different qualities and drawing them develops dexterity of the hands and mind, which leads to the writing of letters. Students learn to see the lines found everywhere within the natural world.
The students’ feelings for form are encouraged through natural beeswax modeling. The simple figures that Class 1 students learn to form help them to “re-tell” the fairy-tales heard during story time.
In Classes 1-3 children are immersed in the French language through songs, games, and stories. Puppets add a lively element to the lesson and develop the children’s imagination and listening skills.
As fingers become adept, so does the mind. All of the activities in handwork, while being fun and creative, facilitate brain development. Students in Class 1 learn to knit. First, finger knitting is introduced, in which the students make cords. Then, students use three fingers to knit, making colorful belts. Finally, students sew a rectangular pouch with needles that they have sanded and polished themselves. Often students complete a knitted recorder case and animal in Class 1 as well.
Music is integrated into the daily rhythm and involves singing and playing the pentatonic recorder flute, which also helps develop finger dexterity. Class 1 students enter the world of music through the pentatonic scale. In this scale all the notes have a harmonious sound in any order they are played.
Running and group circle games are played in Games/Movement class. The students work on their cooperation skills and sportsmanship. The emphasis is on the joy of movement within their own space and with others.
Tanya Thayer (read more)