Grades 1 - 3 overview
Grades 1-3: The World is Beautiful & Good, & I Am Part of It's Unfolding
Each 2-3 year learning cycle in the SOLA curriculum has an underlying theme that supports learners' developing consciousness and cognitive capacities.
As learners enter the primary grades, they are evolving into a new experience of the world and their delight in discovering, exploring and feeling their part in it's unfolding story. They also enter into a relationship with a class teacher who will accompany their learning journey through grade 6. Through nature stories & fairy tales and inclusion in rhymes, illustrative drawings, and songs, children are introduced to each letter of the alphabet. This embodied experience of phonetics and form creates a linguistic 'landscape' within the child that allows for more writing and reading as this cycle progresses. Numerical qualities are also experienced in an embodied way, as children are guided to recognize them in nature or by engaging rhythmic movements & physical games. This multi-sensory introduction allows children to readily move into the more complex application of mathematical processes as their learning journey progresses.
In grades 1 & 2, children engage their kinesthetic intelligence and develop gross and fine motors skills while they are immersed in play, imagination, and the arts. Each morning begins with physical or rhythmic circle activities that improve the children’s balance, concentration, strength, and body-awareness. The children also develop their breathing and speech through singing, poetry, and playing the pentatonic flute. They grow artistically through regular drawing, beeswax modeling, and painting lessons.
Grades 1 -3 academics are interwoven through the thematic lesson, which shifts focus every four weeks, between language arts and arithmetic. Science during this learning cycle engages the wonder and beauty of nature through an immersive experience of the seasons, nature walks, animal care, and contemplative observation. Children gain a sense of history through the fairy stories and nature tales they hear, which enliven their sense of the past and awareness of other cultures or kingdoms of life.
In the language arts, the children hear, retell, and act out fairy tales, nature stories and fables. They learn and practice the sounds and forms of the letters and then begin writing words and sentences. Spelling includes the use of word families, while reading is practiced using the script of a play that the students are learning by heart orally, as well as through reviewing the work in their main-lesson books. In arithmetic, the four basic operations are introduced, multiplication tables practiced, and word problems are used to reinforce skills. The students end this cycle having created several main-lesson books which serve as an archival memento of their learning journey.
Animal Arts & Nature Immersion
Each morning before the thematic lesson period begins, and during Animal Arts class, children participate in farm animal care with feeding, grooming, communication & connection. During morning or afternoon recess, and also during many enrichment classes, children play, hike and explore our forests, creeks, fields, orchards and farm.
Imaginative & free play
Unstructured, free play is so often undervalued in our current educational culture, even when multiple studies and direct experience tell us that childrens' imaginative capacities, empathic intelligence and development of self-regularity skills depend on it. Our daily rhythm includes ample, unstructured time for free play, and our environment provides a pristine natural canvas for imagination to guide the childrens' playtime.
FIne & Practical Arts & handicrafts
Handicrafts: knitting, sanding and forming knitting needles from wooden dowels, basic sewing/stitching, sculpting beeswax forms, working with clay
Fine Arts: Watercolor painting, block and stick crayon drawing
Games: Outdoor games, team sports
Music: Singing, pentatonic flute
Movement: Rhythmic Movement, Eurythmy
Theater & Performance: Learners present an end of year play, drawn from nature stories, fairy tales, or mythologies
Our daily rhythm & schedule
9:00- Arrival, contemplative walk, tending the animals, garden, spring
9:30- Morning circle begins-listening, songs, sharing, movement, eurythmy
10:00- Thematic lesson begins
11:15- Snack & recess
11:45- Math practice, finish main lesson work
12:45- Lunch & recess
1:45- Specialty classes (handwork, music, animal arts, or games)
2:45- Closing circle/cleanup
3:00- Pick up/van departure