Grade 1 Curriculum

Language Arts

In Grade 1, children build on the language skills they have developed in Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten. Each student's proficiency is maximized in all areas of reading and writing. Students learn to read, or continue to expand their reading skills, using a variety of approaches and materials, including children's literature and phonics. They enhance their reading skills and share thoughts and feelings about literature in small groups. Writing activities focus on creative expression and elementary skills of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Journals, writing workshops, and class-produced books extend the writing process.


Through hands-on learning with the use of concrete math materials, work mats, and manipulatives, students learn the formal arithmetical operations of addition and subtraction and mathematical concepts that are precursors for higher-level thinking. The math program incorporates real world problem solving, reasoning, communication, and making connections in mathematics. IXL, a computerized program utilized in the classroom, advances students at an individualized pace, which allows both remediation and enrichment.

Social Studies

Students explore similarities and differences among people of the world and learn to relate with care and consideration as we focus on each child’s heritage and ancestry. The curriculum is integrated with language arts, where literature and projects reflect the units of study.


Drama activities extend to support the increasingly expanding language arts and/or library curriculum. It increases fluency through Reader’s Theater and writing, by providing a structure upon which the students can hang their ideas. Drama is another tool through which literacy can be explored. Grade 1 annually presents a piece which reflects this work.


Students investigate and explore the "scientific method" -- the process of making observations and claims, recording evidence, and drawing conclusions. They focus on both scientific literacy and scientific processes, using age-appropriate activities. They learn to cite evidence and explain their reasoning. Along the way, students become consumer scientists and put their process skills to use when determining if various products live up to their claims. A hands-on program combines both physical and life science units. In physical science, students explore features of forces and motion and light and sound. The lessons learned are applied to real life situations to help students begin to understand how the world around them works. As part of the life science sequence, students focus on the anatomy and behavior of plants. Children come to view plants as living organisms with behaviors that are both similar to and distinct from those of animals.

Foreign Language

Grade 1 French continues along the same lines as Kindergarten, exposing children to more vocabulary during thematic units and encouraging them to speak often in the target language. Children continue to participate in games, songs, and TPR (total physical response) exercises in French and work on more long-term projects such as performing skits, preparing menus for restaurants, and studying cultures and traditions of countries in the French-speaking world.

Studio Art

The art program is designed to instill confidence in the use of various materials and techniques, such as paint, clay, and collage. Students work on projects that are related to other aspects of their academic program, as well as those related primarily to art. The emphasis in Grade 1 is on handling of materials and learning about color.


Students develop a strong sense of musical self-worth and continue to hone their music skills. Classroom activities employ a variety of musical styles, with experiences including listening to music, singing, creative dance, performing, and improvising utilizing Orff and other percussion instruments. Kodaly Solfeggio is introduced. Conventional rhythmic notation is continued. Music is coordinated with the other areas of the curriculum.

Physical Education

There is progression from simple skills and combinations to the introduction of skill combinations and specialized skills needed for games and group participation. Participation within a team structure is introduced. Students learn to share equipment, to participate to achieve a common goal, and to accept the outcome of competition. Students use the climbing wall and engage in activities that reinforce movement awareness concepts and skills. Activities are designed to allow children to work together to improve their emerging social and cooperative skills.


Students in Grade 1 learn to be independent browsers and borrowers, taking responsibility to care for and return books on a weekly basis. Students learn the parts of a book, the differences between fiction and non-fiction, and how the library is arranged, including general information about locating non-fiction and fiction books in the library.

The Partners Program

Students in Grade 1 are younger partners of students in Grade 5. They meet once a week for educational and social activities. The Partners Program provides an opportunity for older and younger children to develop strong and lasting relationships. It offers early experiences in service to others and contributes to the strong sense of community across all grades that is characteristic of St. Luke’s School.


Younger students use technology in the classroom with their teachers. iPads, Smartboards, and desktop computers are designed to be used to enhance cross-curricular activities. Morning meetings and Mathletics are examples of activities where students use technology to support their learning.

Religious Education: Festivals and Holidays

Children learn about the diversity of children around the world. They study world religions through the joy and celebration of different religious holidays and festivals. Because young children possess a natural and intuitive spirituality, this course is designed to build on children’s innate sense of wonder, by enabling them to articulate and express their own sense of the sacred as they explore its images in the five major world religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

Junior Chapel and Mentions

In Junior Chapel children experience an age-appropriate model of worship based on the Episcopal liturgy, adapted to the changing needs and traditions of an interdenominational student body and faculty. By linking Episcopal ritual to a broad religious context, the aim is to affirm and nurture all students in their spiritual life, and to strengthen their connection to their own religious tradition. At Junior Chapel children sing, pray, talk, and receive birthday blessings.

All the Lower School classes, Junior Kindergarten through Grade 4, attend a morning meeting on Fridays, called Mentions. Children share news, celebrate talents and interests, and learn about community and current events at a developmentally appropriate level.


The Lower School dance program explores dance and movement as a non-verbal form of communication. It encourages students to express themselves through structured and creative movement. The dance program helps to develop an appreciation for different genres of dance. Students attend dance once a week in the Archive building.

The Grade 1 dance program’s focus is on the four basic elements of dance: body, energy, space and time. It explores concepts such as levels, patterns, and qualities of movement. The concepts are experienced through structured improvisation and games. Children learn how to watch each other and identify what they see.

Outdoor Recreation

Children have recess in our newly renovated playground. They enjoy our new climbing structures, play mounds, and play equipment, as well as balls and blocks; they participate in both structured and unstructured free play to develop large motor muscles.

After School Program

An extended day program is available with many enrichment classes offered for an additional fee.


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St. Luke's School is proud to announce our newest faculty and staff members who joined us for the 2019-20 school year.
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