First and second graders build on the strong academic base of kindergarten. Activities are more structured and longer in length, but the fast pace and challenging material keep students interested and excited about learning.
These young students work hard and are tired by the end of the school day, so students in first and second grades are released at 2:15 p.m. Students may either attend the Academic Arcade or return to their homes at the end of their school day. An optional Before and After School Program is also available.
1ST – 2ND GRADE CURRICULUM
Students in the early grades develop the learning skills necessary to decode words and begin using those skills to build reading comprehension. The Spalding phonics method is a hallmark of the Reid Traditional Schools’ Valley Academy curriculum. This method uses phonograms, the ‘keys’ to reading. By the end of first grade, all phonograms have been mastered and are reviewed weekly.
Students learn the skills that all good readers need through reading age-appropriate classical and meritorious literature that is uplifting in nature.
Students in the early grades are introduced to proper sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and composition. Writing skills are learned through student-generated writing and corrective editing, a much more effective method than worksheet-based programs. This approach allows teachers to place emphasis on the students’ final products. Students can write complete, related simple sentences with correct punctuation and capitalization by the end of first grade. This is the beginning of paragraph development, which is taught in second grade.
Manuscript writing is taught using precise, specific instruction methods. Students learn 30-40 new spelling words each week. They practice their writing skills by using spelling words in sentence writing practice. Students also gain an early introduction to public speaking by reciting memorized poems regularly. The poetry of authors such as Emily Dickinson and Shel Silverstein enrich students’ lives.
Emphasis is placed on the memorization of basic math facts in the early grades. Timed tests of addition and subtraction math facts are used to track student progress. With the help of manipulatives and assessments, students also learn about time and money. An early introduction to multiplication, division, fractions, and geometry skills helps our students excel. Valley Academy uses the Saxon math program, and we begin accelerating the program in first grade. This acceleration of the program continues over the years to the study of Algebra in eighth grade.
In the early grades, students are introduced to Early American History and World Cultures. They learn about our country’s heroes and holidays, as well as basic economics. Their path to good citizenship continues with the study of our community, state, and national governments. Learning about geography and maps enriches their knowledge of the world. Proven historical facts and geographic knowledge lay a traditional foundation for the understanding of our nation.
The science curriculum features the study of plants and animals, the physical properties of earth, space, energy, sound, and geology. Activities and experiments accompany each unit of the textbook for a hands-on approach to science.
The curriculum is rounded out with Special Area Classes.
Students may participate in an optional Before and After School Program.