Meet Our First Grade Teacher

Wonderful news! Mabel Albert will be the First Grade teacher for our 2024-25 First Grade.

Join us WED, February 14 @ 8:30am for a special Valentines Day coffee to meet Ms. Albert, Class Teacher for the Class of 2032, and learn more about learning your child will LOVE! 

We’ll discuss the First Grade curriculum, and you’ll also meet First Grade Subject Teachers in Music, Games, Handwork, Gardening and World Languages

About First Grade Teacher Ms. Albert

A current Class Teacher at Berkshire Waldorf School, Ms. Albert is a Waldorf graduate who attended White Mountain Waldorf School (Albany, New Hampshire) from Kindergarten through Eighth Grade. She earned both her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Masters of Arts in Teaching from Tufts University, Boston. After graduation, she taught art for students in Kindergarten through Eighth Grade at the Coolidge Corner School in Brookline, MA. During that time, she also worked at the Brookline Arts Center, teaching children of all ages. Prior to relocating to the Berkshires, Ms. Albert worked as a substitute teacher in New Hampshire private and public elementary schools. 

At Berkshire Waldorf School, as in most Waldorf schools worldwide, Grades School Class Teachers start with their class cohort in First Grade, and move through the Elementary School curriculum together, to build strong, long-term relationships for up to eight years. Ms. Albert joined BWS with the “Covid class” in 2020, when her current students were in Fifth Grade, and immediately committed to teaching outside throughout the school year, so students could attend school in person. This Spring, Ms. Albert is finishing Eighth Grade with the Class of 2024. 

Next Steps Toward First Grade

At “Meet the First Grade Teachers,” you’ll learn more about what to look forward to in First Grade, and the admissions process for applicant families.

Both the event registration and First Grade applications for students who will be turning 6 by September 1, 2024 are open now in our admissions portal, Ravenna

Friends and family members (*grownups only) are welcome to join in this Valentines Day coffee event. Any questions, please contact Admissions Director Robyn Coe, admissions@berkshirewaldorfschool.org.

We look forward to seeing you at this exciting event! 

#GoBobcats!

First Days of School

Beginning our 52nd school year with the traditional Rose Ceremony marks the first key transition our First Graders make, as Eighth and Twelfth Graders welcome them into the Grade School.

Eighth and Twelfth Graders welcome First Graders in the Opening Day Rose Ceremony. On the last day of school, rising Second Graders will give roses to the Twelfth and Eighth Graders, to wish them well on their next journey.

First Days of First Grade

First Graders begin the school year with a Main Lesson block in Form Drawing. This three-week block introduces straight and curved lines, which are the basis for all the letters and numbers students will learn over the course of the year. It’s how drawing organically becomes writing and all four mathematical operations. BWS and BWHS students build on this strong foundation over their twelve years of Elementary and High School starting right here, in the first week of Grades School!

The Class Teacher presents fairy tales and stories from all over the world, teaching in a form that children already know, love and understand, through stories. She creates living pictures using both movement and imagination, without notes or screens. The children listen transfixed, then each child carefully draws a form from the story into their very own main lesson book.

First Graders practice making straight and then curved lines. Next, they incorporate the straight and curved lines together, creating a new form. At last, the focus turns to learning to draw a spiral, as the children first practice walking a spiral, forming it on the ground with rope, as well as drawing on each other’s backs!

Fifth Grade at Recess. Kickball is big here!

Becoming a Class

So much of First Grade is about learning to become a community. At Berkshire Waldorf School, the class will move together through the Grades, and frequently on through High School, so relationships, belonging and etiquette are an important part of education. Notably, in Waldorf Education, this social learning is part of the curriculum in both academic and subject classes.

As an example of social learning in First Grade, Class Teacher Victoria Cartier discussed the importance of building up the basics (already well-established in BWS Early Childhood classes). This is what Waldorf teachers call “form”: learning to walk in a line, work together in a circle, attend to the teacher–all the ways their experiences teach the children how to work and play together, help one another and take care of the space they share. 

Ms. Cartier spoke about the development of the children from Kindergarten to First Grade.

The transition from Kindergarten to First Grade is crossing a bridge, a critical passage as students’ energy slows down and they are able to learn internally, become aware of their feelings and access a deeper ability to produce, express and generate their internal thoughts and memories, without relying on sensory reminders.

-First Grade Teacher Victoria Cartier

Ms. Cartier also emphasized not taking for granted just how new everything is for students brand new to the Grades School, and how much growth and change is occurring within them.  In First Grade, Games period and recesses are organized by Ms. Cartier, while the afternoons are reserved for free play. During free play, the teacher has time to observe social dynamics, and discover students’ different affinities, strengths and joys, when they are free to explore, climb and play whatever calls to them. The strength of the class as a whole shines through during this time. 

First day of school outside in the Star Room play yard. Yay!

The Very First Days of School

Our youngest Early Childhood students in the Star Room (Toddler), Rose Room and Robin’s Nest (2-4 years), and Sun Room, Rainbow Room and Pumpkin Patch Kindergartens (5-6 years) started school with surprisingly few tears. Some children had their very first experience of being away from parents and regular caregivers. We were delighted to see and hear them playing, running, visiting the sheep, climbing trees, singing and laughing. It’s wonderful to have our youngest students back on campus!

Welcome dear families, to this learning and growing community.

Looking forward to the Grades!

Learning in first grade with color, action, imagination.

Come learn more about the next eight years of your child’s education at this special event, where we’ll discuss:

Your participation at this in-person event includes visit to classes in progress and a saved seat at the BWS Thanksgiving Assembly (11am-12pm), for an inspiring survey of what Grades 1-8 have been learning during Fall term.

We look forward to celebrating this special moment with you!

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