When your child is around 6 years old, he'll move into first grade - the entry level at elementary school. First grade is an exciting but demanding time for kids and parents. In this first year of school, your child will build on the skills and knowledge he acquired in kindergarten or preschool, but he will also be expected to function on a more "grown-up" level than before, which at first may be a little emotionally taxing for him. His new responsibilities as a first grade learner will be to get use to a longer day at school (which in itself can be tiring), to complete some form of homework most nights, and to negotiate his way around a new classroom and school building in which there will be more teachers and children than in kindergarten.
Preschool Developmental Milestones
Before your child can begin first grade, there are a number of preschool developmental milestones he should have achieved in terms of literacy and math and also in terms of his behavior and routine (particularly regarding toilet training). If you're not sure whether your child is ready for first grade, talk to the teachers at his preschool and to staff at the elementary school in which you're interested, and get their opinion about your child's progress. Sometimes a child needs to stay in preschool a little longer than normal, particularly if he was younger than average when he entered preschool for the first time, or if he is affected by a learning disability.
The First Grade Classroom
If you want to know more about how your child's first grade experience is likely to take shape, why not search for some first grade lesson plans and first grade worksheets online? There are also numerous websites that provide information on what your child will learn in first grade and what he'll be expected to know already before he arrives. Generally speaking, the first grade curriculum aims to build on the things your child has already been taught, but teaching may also expand into areas which aren't always covered at preschool (for example, science, social studies, art and music).
First Grade Reading And Writing
Reading and writing come under the general category of literacy skills. By the end of first grade, some of the skills your child will have mastered include: the use of basic punctuation; writing legible print; writing simple but complete sentences; being able to identify plural and singular noun forms; and being able to spell between 130 to 150 words. He should be able to tell the difference between fictional and non-fictional stories, and to remember and talk about different elements of story and its sequence of events.
First Grade Math
In math, your child's acquired skills in first grade will include: telling the time; using a ruler; simple addition and subtraction up to the number 20; writing the numbers 0 to 100; and recognizing different shapes.
First Grade Science
First grade science can be an important a source not only of great fun but also of the basic knowledge to study science at a higher level. First graders typically learn to use simple scientific instruments (like magnifying glasses) and about the senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste). There may be some very simple classroom experiments as well as basic studies on nature and the lifecycles of certain animals which inspire children's imaginations (such as butterflies).
First Grade Games
Right through the elementary school grades and perhaps even beyond, games will form an important part of your child's education. Teaching methods and philosophies have moved on a great deal since the days of sitting at separate desks and learning facts by heart. Now, children are encouraged to work as a team and enjoy games not only as part of physical education and sport but also in the classroom. Don't be alarmed if your first grader seems to be playing games all day every day in school - a clever first grade teacher often manages to incorporate serious learning into fun activities, which helps to instill a love of learning in your child.