Grade One

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Grade One is the transition between Early Childhood and the full primary education experience.

Priority is given to providing a strong framework from which academic and artistic skills will continue to develop.

The Grade One year is structured around rhythm: the calendar and its festivals; the monthly change of the Main Lesson block; balance in the lessons between quiet focus and active movement; the day rhythm of the Main Lesson, in which students engage with the same material in different ways over two or three days.

Movement activities take advantage of the children’s developing bodies to learn and strengthen memory: rhythmic clapping and stamping while reciting times tables engage the child’s whole body, not just the head, in order to understand fully the concept of times tables and multiplication; movement activities deepen learning and balance children’s natural desires to move with the quiet listening and writing activities of the lesson.

“Reverence for children and childhood requires you to stand back, look at the world, and remember what the children just know instinctively – that there is magic and wonder, and that life is beautiful.”

Erin Porier
Class Teacher, London Waldorf School

Language Arts:

In the Main Lesson, the children are introduced to the letters of the alphabet, initially through stories and then moving into transformation from picture to symbol. Through this approach, letters become characters that the children know rather than abstract symbols. Sound/symbol relationships are practiced, and the children begin writing short sentences that they have memorized, preparing them for the move into reading.


Experiencing the quality of numbers precedes the learning of mathematical operations. Students are introduced to the four primary mathematical processes as four characters in a story. Math is supported experientially through rhythmic movements, lively counting, and sequencing work. After much practice with manipulatives and mental math, the written symbols for the four processes and the equals sign are introduced.

Subject Lessons:

The daily timetable is filled out with two contrasting secondary languages, music (singing and recorder playing), eurythmy (a movement art) where possible, watercolour painting, drawing, modeling, knitting, form drawing, nature walks, games, and a rich story curriculum of folk tales and ancient legends.

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