Lower School

First Grade

Our First Grade curriculum is designed to help children develop strong academic habits, build caring relationships, and foster independent thinking. 

First graders are included in every aspect of school life and they are active participants in all that our school's beautiful campus has to offer. While homeroom classes are devoted to building a strong foundation in reading, writing, science, and mathematics, the children also work with master teachers who share their expertise in art, Spanish, music, physical education, library, and Character Education. 

The biomimicry design thinking project, Zooming with classroom connections from all over the world to study diversity, and a field trip to Santa Lucia Preserve are some of the many highlights of the school year. 

The tradition of our rich curriculum and nurturing community work together to develop the academic practices and social skills that will serve our students during this very important first year as well as the years ahead.

Core Curriculum

List of 5 items.

  • Language Arts

    In first grade a heavy emphasis is placed upon phonics, decoding, fluency, spelling and the memorization of high-frequency words, based on the science of reading and UFLI Foundations program. 

    Students work daily on building skills in reading comprehension, accuracy, and vocabulary expansion. Literature and author studies provide many opportunities to explore character development, plot, predictive and inferential reasoning, and rich vocabulary. Small reading groups and differentiated assignments reinforce lessons taught in class. 

    Students participate in weekly grammar lessons which focus on punctuation and sentence formation daily with completing the first grade Handwriting Without Tears printing program; upper and lower letter formation are practiced daily with the appropriate letter spacing. Students write personal narrative stories, as well as procedural, informational, and persuasive texts, with a focus on structure and craft techniques.
  • Mathematics

    By the end of 1st grade, students have gained an understanding of number sense, measurement and geometry, and mathematical reasoning. The Singapore Math curriculum focuses on the progression of concrete, pictorial, and abstract strategies that are intentionally sequential and require students to rely on depth of knowledge gained from previous lessons, instead of rote memorization. Through daily lessons, problem-solving, games, and songs, students learn the value of numbers to the 100's place, add and subtract small numbers with ease, use a variety of strategies for addition and subtraction within 120, describe basic fractions, tell time to the half-hour, measure length, describe and represent data in graphs, and identify and count values of money.

    Creating, writing, and solving world problems help students explain their work and share their ideas with others.
  • Science

    The science program provides experiments and activities that will increase the students' awareness of their environment, stimulate their curiosity, and develop their ability to think critically. In each Amplify unit, students learn to observe, describe, identify, and compare information through inquiry-based learning.

    Students will explore plant and animal adaptations, discovering the structures and behaviors living things use to survive. Students will then apply their new knowledge and the design-thinking process in their biomimicry projects, creating a prototype based on adaptations to solve a problem, testing their prototypes, creating new iterations, and presenting their findings. 

    First graders then dive into physical science through explorations of light and sound. Students discover the properties of light and how it interacts with transparent, translucent, opaque, and reflective matter. They learn about sound waves and how to start and stop sounds, as well as change volume and pitch. Students apply their thinking to create shadow puppet sets and sound-effect instruments.

    Finally, students will explore patterns in the sky by mapping changes in the sun, moon, and stars, as well as examining why the sky looks different at different times and places around the world.

    Each unit of study additionally provides unique cross-curricular collaboration opportunities, including music, art, library research, and language arts.
  • Spanish

    The focus in lower grades Spanish is placed on developing oral communication and conversation skills. Songs, stories, games, poems, and props are used to encourage children to participate actively in speaking the language. T.P.R. (Total Physical Response) Storytelling, a method that permits immediate comprehension of the input as students listen to and mimic the phrases in the target language, is used in grades 1 - 5.  Students enact dialogues and readings, focus on conversational skills and expand their knowledge of Hispanic countries through poetry, songs, and readings.

    In first grade, Spanish a broader variety of vocabulary is introduced through songs and games. Students learn about animals, days of the week, months, the weather, seasons, and more.
  • Social Studies

    Social studies in first grade begin with the broad concepts of rights and responsibilities in the contemporary world. The classroom serves as a microcosm of society in which decisions are made with respect for individual responsibility, for other people, and for the rules by which we all must live: fair play, good sportsmanship, and respect for the rights and opinions of others. 

    Students also study their place in the world. They use maps and globes to locate California, the United States, the seven continents, the four oceans, and their own hometown. Students use video chat to learn about the cultures, holiday traditions, geography, and national symbols of countries around the world. Students compare and contrast everyday life in different times and places around the world, and discover how some things have changed over time while other things stay the same. 

    Additional social studies units include the symbols, icons, and traditions of the United States, as well as basic economic concepts.

List of 9 members.

  • Photo of Jennifer Vanoli

    Jennifer Vanoli 

    Division Head Preschool-2, K-8 After Care Coordinator
  • Photo of Sydney McKechnie

    Sydney McKechnie 

    1st Grade Teacher
  • Photo of Val Gaino

    Val Gaino 

    1st Grade Associate Teacher, Sustainability Coordinator
  • Photo of Laila Norwood

    Laila Norwood 

    Teaching Assistant
  • Photo of Don Balch

    Don Balch 

    Physical Education Teacher
  • Photo of Melanie Klaumann

    Melanie Klaumann 

    Art Teacher
  • Photo of Larissa Lostrom

    Larissa Lostrom 

    3rd Grade Teacher, Character Ed Teacher K-5
  • Photo of Shervin Mader

    Shervin Mader 

    Lower Grade Spanish Teacher, Outreach Coordinator
  • Photo of Andrew Marine

    Andrew Marine 

    Music Director

All Saints Day School

8060 Carmel Valley Road
Carmel, CA 93923
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All Saints Day School, in Carmel, CA, is the only independent, private school on the Monterey Peninsula that focuses solely on educating students in Preschool through Grade 8, and has been doing so, with a reputation for excellence, since 1961.

All Saints Day School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, or sex in the administration of its educational and employment policies, admissions policies, financial aid programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.