First Grade at ACS is focused on developing thinking minds, life-long learners and Christ-like relationships. Independence and problem solving are key factors taught and encouraged for successful learning. The core of our teaching is devoted to reading, writing, and math skills which are then woven into other areas such as social studies, science, and Bible. The goal of our program is to develop a community of kingdom workers who desire to bring the transformational impact of heaven to earth now.
Bible: The students are taught to see themselves as wonderfully made by an amazing God with a purpose and plan for us. Connections are drawn from the stories of God’s Word to build a foundation of faith which sees God’s faithfulness as He reveals His plan and keeps His promises to God’s people and therefore to us. Our core curriculum is based on Christian School International’s publication of Walking With God and His People in conjunction with the Bible. The lessons mainly focus on the Old Testament with short visits to important celebrations of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Much time is spent in singing, prayer, devotions, chapels, and memorizing Scripture to use as tools in developing personal relationships with our God.
Language Arts: An important purpose within our classrooms is to immerse the children in rich literature and thereby foster a love of reading, inspiring them to explore the wonderful world of reading with good-fit books in age appropriate libraries. We study various authors to develop each child’s sense of self as he/she communicates as a writer. We engage in the process of making and breaking words in order to build our reading and spelling skills. As writers, the children develop their skills in personal narrative, How To, Opinion and Non-Fiction genres of writing. First graders will dig into the process of writing more than the finished product. Through all this we value each individual child, and in turn, teach them to value the differences in each other as a community of learners in the body of Christ – each with God-given learning styles, gifts, and various learning speeds. We use an assessment-based individualized reading program including Daily Five, Café, Strategies That Work, Words Their Way, supplemented by Phonics First, and leveled reading to meet the variety of needs in our classroom.
Social Studies: The majority of our studies involve roles and responsibilities we have as learners in first grade – how this connects to our families, classroom, resources, needs, and profit. Woven throughout these lessons, which are based on scripture and core democratic values, is God’s call to a life of grateful service as family members, producers, consumers, and citizens. We spend time enjoying map skills and finding our place in our community, country, and God’s world. We use the Michigan’s Social Studies Curriculum.
Science: ACS uses FOSS Science units in elementary grades. “FOSS Next Generation puts the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) into practice by integrating all three dimensions: the Disciplinary Core Ideas, the Science and Engineering Practices, and the Crosscutting Concepts, all within our classroom-proven tools and strategies to engage students and teachers in enduring experiences (hands on!) that lead to deeper understanding of the natural and designed world. FOSS engages all students with meaningful active learning experiences, prepares all students to succeed with the NGSS performance expectations, integrates robust reading and literacy strategies to support the ELA standards for all students, and utilizes technology to deliver learning experiences and provide teachers with excellent management resources.” (FOSS website) Teachers will focus on how great our God is and how His hand is the true guide and science is study of God’s handiwork.
Physical Education: First Grade students receive two one-half hours of PE instruction each week. Students begin learning how to cooperate with others and work together to be successful as we work on continued development and control in basic loco motor movements (skip, hop, etc..) and manipulative skills (dribble, underhand throw, etc…)
Art: First Grade students receive forty-five minutes of art instruction each week. Students will do many projects that build confidence in materials that were introduced in kindergarten. Many projects will relate to classroom learning to reinforce concepts. Students will continue to work with the Elements of Art.
Music: First Grade students receive two-one half hour classes of music instruction each week. The mission of the music program at Allendale Christian School is to allow students to discover and develop the musical gifts that God has given them through an appreciation of, enjoyment of, and success in music. Through movement activities, composition, improvisation, singing, and the use of instruments, first graders will develop the following musical skills: performing with a steady beat, matching pitch, reading basic rhythms, and recognizing and demonstrating musical opposites.
Computers and Technology: First Grade students participate in two one-half hour sessions of computer instruction each week. Students learn to use basic Microsoft applications, including skills like cutting, copying, and pasting. They also use these applications and various websites to reinforce the classroom instruction. Classroom integration is used to develop skills in reading and practice math-related concepts.