The children make a great leap from first to second grade—perhaps one of the biggest leaps in their school career.
Writing, which was virtually an extension of drawing in Grade One, now stands on its own; numbers, whose qualitative aspect was stressed last year, now are recognized as quantities, extending in space and time. And the world of Fairy Tales, although not completely absent, now makes way for the Lives of the Saints—biographies of men and women with a historical verity—and fables.
If the circle is a picture of first grade, all whole and unified, each part sustaining the rest, the second grade may be seen as two parallel lines. The child is no longer carried by the dreamy sense of security in all that encircles them, but begins to experience a delicate quality of “apartness,” of “identity.” At this age, criticalness may suddenly appear, along with a tendency to squabble endlessly, or feel persecuted by “everybody,” bereft of friends. The Fables point out the foibles suddenly appearing all over; the Saints’ legends calm, console and reassure.
Second Grade Curriculum
Rhythm of the Day
Each day begins with Main Lesson. The main subjects, such as history, language arts, science and mathematics are taught in blocks of 2 hours per day, with each block lasting from 3 to 6 or even 8 weeks long.
For the second grader, approximately one-third of the morning lesson time is used in movement, flute, speech and singing work; all four interwoven into the morning circle time. Movements can include rhythmic arithmetic patterns stepped, stomped or clapped; hand clapping games; dances; rope jumping and memory concentration exercises. These movements help bring balance into the morning and work with integrating developmental movements into the children’s day. Usually there is at least one piece that is being used as a recitation piece in the morning circle. These are sometimes used for basic pronunciation skills or are related to the seasons.
After Main Lesson the children have a hearty snack (brought from home) and time to play outdoors.
The afternoon consists of subject classes including handwork, movement, french, music and art, as well as lunch (brought from home) and more time to play outdoors.