First grade is the year we build on the social foundations that students have established in Kindergarten and build students’ stamina for academics. While first grade is more academic focused, we work hard to educate "the whole child," helping them learn to identify and regulate their emotions, develop and strengthen empathy, and build community. First graders are busy, excited, and curious students. They love anything messy and hands on and we try to embrace that as much as possible with time in the forest, craft projects, and games! In first grade at Westshire, we learn mostly in centers with hands-on games and explorations. First grade is a year focused on building stamina and perseverance. Learning how to read, add, and subtract requires a lot of hard work and determination. First grade is the year that students are expected to make the most growth, primarily in reading, out of any other year in their educational career. To help them tackle reading we work to get to know each student and use a multisensory, hand-on, and differentiated approach. We work hard to focus on each student as a unique individual and provide the tools and structure to help them build on their strengths and make that growth. It is always amazing to see how much first graders can accomplish and how much they change in just one school year.