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Primary Grades (Grades 1-3)

The Primary Grades (Grades 1-3) in DoDEA support the commitment to excellence and equity in educating our children and the core understanding of how children learn and develop. Teaching practices are developmentally appropriate:

  • Appropriate to children's age and developmental status
  • Responsive to the social and cultural contexts in which they live
  • ENSURE that goals and experiences are suited to their learning and development and challenging enough to promote their progress and interest (Copple and Bredekamp, 2009)

One of the most important goals for this age group is developing an enthusiasm for learning. During the primary grades, it is essential for children to earn to read, but it is equally important for them to develop the desire to read. Similarly, it is as important for children to be motivated to solve mathematics problems as it is for them to learn how to add and subtract or measure with a ruler. Best practices for children in first, second, and third grades include balancing children's need for focused instruction about a specific subject areas or concept with children's need to build on what they already know and to make connections between concepts and domains of learning-that is, to experience an integrated curriculum. (Copple and Bredekamp, 2009)

The curriculum is comprehensive, effective, and standards based. Grade 1-3 classrooms have rich, integrated learning experiences that truly engage children through centers, small groups, flexible grouping, and large group instruction. Practices that promote young children's optimal learning and development are grounded both in the research and are intentional in helping children achieve their individual identified goals for their learning. The following are guidelines that help our primary grade teachers support a developmentally appropriate environment in their classroom. Primary grade teachers:

  • Create a caring community of learners
  • Teach to enhance development and learning
  • Plan curriculum to achieve important goals
  • Assess children's development and learning
  • Establish reciprocal relationship with families (Copple and Bredekamp, 2009)

Contact Information:

DoDEA Early Childhood Coordinator
4800 Mark Center Drive
Alexandria, VA 22350-1400