The migration to first grade is a smooth and continuous journey. The blossoming six and seven year olds enter learning environments that are both playful and intellectually stimulating to engage the use of all of their senses. Developing reading and math skills are fostered intentionally through the use of manipulatives, interactive games, engaging literature, and learning props. Skill acquisition is made meaningful by embedding the work into the first grade theme of “Community and Spirit” and second grade themes of “Cycles, Change, and Journey.”
One study in first grade invites children to explore and design a farm, chart and plant “crop growth,” and live as a farm family. In another study in second grade, children explore tree growth, create trees as ecosystems, and then simulate a journey to another part of the globe in search of indigenous trees. Throughout grades one, two and three, a play-based curriculum moves into one that is experienced based.
Through a thematic approach all academic subjects are integrated into the daily learning lives of students. Children’s curricular experiences invite them to make connections within their learning and to apply acquired skill in real life situations. This is achieved through simulations, trips, and classroom collaborations.
Classes in Spanish, visual arts, music, technology, and physical education broaden the student’s perspective and skill base. Subsequently, these experiences become the foundation of the child’s developing sense of self and confidence. This thread is woven throughout Baker learning experiences and embodies teaching the “whole child”. A Baker child is one who, through the use of developing skills, readily makes ongoing contributions to the good of their school and community.