1st Grade

In first grade, our goal is to actively engage students in their own learning process. We emphasize hands-on experiences that take into account individual interests and learning styles, and keep class sizes small so that teachers can cater to the needs of each child. We place great value on self-discovery, incorporating open-ended activities that foster skill acquisition and creative expression.

First graders are encouraged to become contributing members of their community. Children learn to listen and show respect for others, demonstrate compassion and empathy, and cooperate with peers. Teachers are guides and role models within a safe, loving and inspiring environment.

Cognitive Development

Language Arts


  • Recognizing upper and lower case letters
  • Demonstrating phonemic awareness
  • Using multiple strategies to construct meaning in reading
  • Identifying common sight words
  • Exploring word families
  • Expanding reading strategies

Expressive and Receptive Language

  • Understanding and responding appropriately to stories and discussions
  • Using prior knowledge to make meaningful connections
  • Participating in discussions
  • Sharing ideas with others during playtime
  • Engaging in conversation with adults
  • Listening to and reacting to the contributions of others


  • Expressing ideas through words and pictures
  • Forming letters correctly
  • Writing with phonetic/inventive spelling
  • Generating ideas for writing
  • Writing legibly using upper and lower case letters
Mathematical Thinking
  • Demonstrating an understanding of symbolic representations
  • Understanding the relationship between numbers and quantities
  • Understanding the concepts of addition and subtraction
  • Understanding place value through 1’s and 10’s
  • Estimating and measuring using nonstandard units such as unifix cubes and Cuisenaire rods
  • Solving visual and spatial puzzles using pattern blocks, tangrams and linker cubes
  • Identifying geometric shapes and their attributes
  • Creating and identifying a variety of shapes and patterns
  • Utilizing different strategies to solve problems involving manipulatives, words or pictures
  • Recalling addition facts to 10
  • Creating and discussing data in graphs and charts
STEAM Discovery Lab Program

  • Continuing a focus on the scientific method: questioning, hypothesizing, predicting, developing awareness, observing, challenging former beliefs and documenting observations and data
  • Developing familiarity with a variety of methods to devise strategies for tackling proposed queries and tasks
  • Using previous knowledge and experience in approaching new problems
  • Learning to work independently and collaboratively
  • Drawing inferences based on findings
  • Exploring recycling to learn what happens to glass, paper, plastic, metal and textiles transported to recycling centers, including a visit to a Brooklyn recycling center
  • Following the seasons and learning about the natural world through visits to Central Park
  • Exploring home construction by considering needed personnel, equipment and machines as well as visits to local building sites
  • Learning about food production, including requirements for plant growth, technology used in farming, packaging and transportation of food
Social Studies
  • Recognizing self and others as having shared and different characteristics
  • Identifying similarities and differences in patterns of living and cultures
  • Understanding different family structures and roles
  • Understanding how people affect the environment
  • Expressing beginning geographical thinking
  • Showing an interest in community service activities
  • Engaging in thematic units of study such as the mammal study

  • Exposure to Spanish vocabulary and phrases through movement, games, stories, and art projects
  • Exploration of culture through stories, activities and food preparation
  • Drawing and painting with attention to detail
  • Recognizing shapes in art
  • Creating representational drawings
  • Adding details to drawings
  • Mixing primary colors to create secondary colors
  • Exploring artistic styles through author studies and visits to art museums
  • In music, exploring musical concepts and terminology, Spanish language and other cultures through song
  • In theater/movement, playing roles, developing imagination and creativity and participating in ensemble work

Physical Development

  • Controlling and using small toys and manipulatives
  • Using scissors and other classroom tools
  • Holding a pencil correctly
  • Managing self with buttons, laces and zippers
  • Showing awareness of body location in space
  • Fostering positive emotional connection to movement
  • Learning to work together safely with respect for self and others

Personal and Social Development

  • Showing curiosity as a learner
  • Demonstrating creativity and inventiveness
  • Working well in small and large groups
  • Persisting with challenges
  • Attempting multiple solutions to solve problems
  • Sustaining focus and attention
  • Using a variety of materials to explore and express ideas
  • Following multi-step directions
  • Demonstrating self-confidence
  • Transitioning easily and adapting to changes in schedule and routine
  • Demonstrating initiative and self-direction
  • Managing emotions and behaviors
  • Showing empathy and caring for others
  • Interacting cooperatively with peers
  • Demonstrating positive ways to solve conflicts
  • Forming positive relationships with adults
  • Following classroom rules and routines
  • Using words to solve conflicts
  • Developing a sense of responsibility to the community

Routines/Weekly Schedule


  • Refining listening and speaking skills
  • Reading and discussing the daily schedule
  • Identifying the day and date on a monthly calendar
  • Practicing turn-taking
  • Increasing attention span
  • Making contributions to group discussions
  • Listening to and respecting the ideas of others
  • Introducing academic concepts and teacher directed activities

Work Time

  • Practicing new concepts, skills and using new materials
  • Participating in follow up activities related to all academic concepts
  • Working independently or in a small group with a teacher
  • Lengthening attention span
  • Practicing reading and writing
  • Seeing a task or activity through to completion
  • Participation in Math Stations
  • Engaging in one on one reading time with classroom teacher

Choice Time

  • Exploring the learning centers (e.g. blocks, writing center, math center, science area)
  • Encouraging conversations and the sharing of ideas
  • Practicing cooperative play
  • Developing individual interests, strengths and passions
  • Discovering new areas of interest
  • Strengthening friendships and developing new relationships

Outdoor Play

  • Practicing social skills
  • Interacting with students in other classes
  • Learning to share and take turns using outdoor equipment
  • Developing gross motor skills
  • Taking appropriate risks
  • Participating in group games


  • Singing, dancing and movement games
  • Developing coordination, rhythm and different ways of moving
  • Playing and handcrafting musical instruments
  • Learning Spanish songs and culture
  • Participating in an ensemble performance

Physical Education

  • Developing spatial awareness
  • Encouraging cooperation and good listening skills
  • Practicing responsible social behavior in a physically active setting
  • Practicing ball handling skills
  • Developing cardiovascular and muscular fitness through use of fundamental motor skills.
girl student laughing

Main Building 3rd - 12th Grades 433 West End Avenue New York, NY 10024 212.497.6500

Robert L. Beir Lower School Building 2.8 Years - 2nd Grade 160 West 74th Street New York, NY 10023 212.497.6550

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