You just finished an overload of sensory and cognitive experiences. Now you are going to refine them and put them to use. You’re in first grade!
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Why is first grade so important? This is where it all starts! It’s not just an introduction or first step to more advanced concepts. In this grade, the fundamental building blocks that will be used throughout your children’s lives are laid and their love or disdain for a subject is setting in.
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Reading and writing and spelling, oh my! For some children, first grade is when they learn to love these subjects. Others are frightened and never recover.
The key to language arts for young children is to create an atmosphere of encouragement and wonder; never comparing their skill to others, reassuring them when they are frustrated, and revealing the power these subjects have to make their dreams become a reality.
A cornerstone to understanding the world, math is another subject that first grade can make or break. The act of solving simple equations regularly, sharpens logical thinking ability and boosts mental agility. Once your first grader has a firm grasp on these basic concepts, problem solving becomes easier and a different way of thinking is possible.
If children become confused with the basic concepts covered, their confidence is shattered. What’s more discouraging; once children are behind, many do not catch up. They either don’t understand why they are struggling or are too embarrassed. So they do not think to review what they were supposed to learn in first grade math.
They are utterly stunted.
The same methods used to promote learning English can be used in Math. It is a universal language after all. Simply make math fun by encouraging, doing hands-on activities, and of course, relating it to the children’s lives.
Curiosity isn’t lacking in young children, but the tools to use that inquisitiveness may be. That’s why first grade is so important. The use of observation and experiments is channeled into an organized system enabling students to solve problems and answer questions.
Before children learn to read they have a natural ability to orient themselves to their surroundings. In first grade they are given the vocabulary to explain this orientation.
And that’s only the beginning. History and current events that may have a direct impact on them can only be understood with the geographical terms learned in this grade.
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Many people think of drawing and painting when they hear the word, but art comes in many different forms. Music is a type of art, as is sculpting, building, and woodworking. First graders are some of the most creative thinkers; unhampered by outside influences. Given the techniques, they are easily motivated to put their imagination to work.
There is an epidemic of obesity and diabetes in young children. While unhealthy eating habits are the main culprit, lack of physical activity also plays a huge role. Being active in the first grade will set a pattern of healthy lifestyle choices.
When it comes to the first grade, there is no doubt that it is the most important grade in your children’s education. According to the research in an article published on the Harvard Graduate School of Education website, academic success can be determined starting in first grade. Does this mean that your children are destined for failure if they are struggling? Absolutely not! It just means a change needs to be made. Whether that is extra help in reading and math, changing classrooms, or bringing them home, it is up to you.
Why do you think first grade is so important? Please leave a comment!