Units of Inquiry
Pass it On
Whistle While You Work
Weather or Not
Under the Sea
While many children enter first grade as readers and writers, they continue to receive phonics instruction in addition to other important reading and writing strategies. Children learn to become competent readers and writers through direct instruction, literature circles, word study, and writers' workshops.
The first-grade math program emphasizes the use of manipulatives for free exploration and to develop specific math concepts. Many materials and teacher-devised games provide an environment in which each child can become actively involved in learning mathematical concepts and skills. Children are introduced to calculator use.
The first-grade science program, written and developed at Charlotte Country Day, is built on an investigative approach in lab lessons in the classroom and in the science lab. First graders begin to make observations and to develop the important skill of recording data in an organized, meaningful way. Science units deal with life, earth, and physical science, and they are intentionally connected to the classroom units of inquiry.
Students come to the Lower School instructional computer lab on their scheduled cycle day to work individually at a computer. Students use a word processing program to type sentences about topics being studied in the classroom. The program integrates technology with all areas of the curriculum and provides special emphasis on reinforcing language arts skills.
This program is concerned with personal identity, responsibility, and social skills. Children are first led to explore their identities and to value themselves as individuals. The focus is then expanded to social and familial relationships: at home, school, and in the global community.
French and Spanish
The program's objective continues to be oral comprehension and expression. Activities for first graders utilize visual materials, games, puppets, slides, songs, stories, and basic dialogues.
During the first grade, children continue to have a variety of musical experiences building on the foundation laid in kindergarten. However, the primary focus is on musical elements. An awareness of these elements emerges from the child's previous experiences with musical stimuli.
The first grade art curriculum focuses on effective use of the elements of art and the principles of design as a means of expressing ideas and observations, as well as creating from imagination. Learning experiences in art are designed and presented in a manner allowing children to develop and exercise decision-making skills. Activities are designed to reinforce and enhance the classroom curriculum, as well as help the students to develop a larger art vocabulary.
The Lower School physical education program is designed to get children fit by teaching them basic movement skills and providing rigorous activity. Giving them an understanding of the value of lifelong fitness is also a primary objective. First graders have PE every day for 30 minutes and the activities emphasize individualism, self-direction, exploration, creativity, and movement theory.
Students visit the library for scheduled library lessons once per cycle. Additional instruction and research time may be scheduled periodically, as needed. The library curriculum enhances and extends the classroom curriculum, fosters literary appreciation and targets information and research skills. Students enjoy a variety of genres in story time, develop active listening and viewing skills, reinforce concepts through experiential activities, learn to confidently use a library, and purposefully explore a wide array of media, both traditional and technological.