The first year of Primary School is dedicated to encouraging good habits within the life and work of the classroom. Time is spent building an awareness and respect for the social group of the class; respect for others, a reverence for nature and learning to care for the world around us.
The curriculum for the year follows the rhythm of the seasons and festivals which are celebrated at the end of every term. As the children leave Kindergarten, we enter into a world of fairy tales in Class One where we explore the archetypal characters and moral lessons of the world through narrative stories.
The year begins with form drawing; a study and practice of the organic forms seen in the natural world around us. We begin our form drawing with the two basic geometric forms of straight line and curve which prepares the children for the writing of their letters. These simple forms then grow and develop as the year goes by and continue throughout Primary School as a preparation for Geometry in the upper classes.
Form Drawing leads into the first Letters Main Lesson. The consonants are brought to the children first as they form the building blocks for the words which are then brought to life later in the year when the children do their Vowel Main Lesson. Each letter is revealed through a fairy tale story, appropriate image and alliterative verse, for example; the letter F can be seen in the image of the flounder fish from the story of the Fisherman and his Wife.
Writing is introduced using pictures, rhymes and stories, and practiced with form drawing and movement. Reading begins with the children’s own written work and familiar songs and poems. Listening and speaking skills are also practiced, with nature stories and fairy tales from around the world.
Numbers are brought to the children in the form of nature stories and what the children have already experienced in the world around them. We look at the quality of numbers, for example; the world as an image for number one and the quality and sense of being whole; sun and moon as number two and the quality of duality etc. We begin with the Roman Numerals, followed by Arabic numbers and the four operations of plus, minus, times and divide which are introduced later in the year and are practiced in movement and rhythmic work every day.
The art of music, drawing, painting, handwork and crafts are an integral part of Class One and grow and develop throughout the children’s education. The children are also introduced to other languages and cultures in their isiXhosa and Afrikaans lessons through songs, verses, games and stories.