First Grader


This year will be an exciting and interesting time for you and your first grader. Six-year-olds have a growing sense of independence yet may also be somewhat anxious as they branch out to new horizons. As a child becomes six, changes occur rapidly in growth and development. First graders can be very enthusiastic about their endeavors, and this enthusiasm can be contagious. They love new places, new ideas, and new bits of information. You and your first grader can have a wonderful time learning and exploring life together.



  • Increased motor activity, may appear restless even when seated
  • Enjoys boisterous play, coordination is not yet fully developed
  • Enjoys manipulating things, but may be awkward in small motor activities
  • May be easily distracted by things in the environment, attention may wander



  • Learns best through touch, exploration, and movement--activities that engage the whole child
  • Displays increased ability to sequence things in time and enjoys hearing about the past
  • Enjoys learning about people and places far away
  • Reading skills are emerging



  • May have difficulty waiting for a turn, likes to be first
  • Often views the teacher as always right
  • Often plays best with friends in pairs rather than groups of three
  • Friendships may be stormy and competitive
  • Show and tell is often a favorite activity



  • Prayer comes naturally, enjoys ceremony and ritual
  • Interprets Bible and other stories literally and cannot derive symbolic meaning
  • Natural sense of wonder fosters a sensitivity to the sacred
  • Comfortable with formal and spontaneous prayer
  • Awareness of Church is limited to his or her experience at home and in the parish
  • Imagines God as a human person



First graders tend to be somewhat self-absorbed at this stage of their development. They can be somewhat assertive and often feel they "know" everything. They exhibit a sense of spontaneity and confidence. It is a wonderful time to remind them of how special they are and how each person is a precious child of God. As you use stories from the Bible, remember that children will think about God and the events of the story in concrete ways. Role-playing, puppetry and art activities can help the children build meaning and remember the story.

We asked a group of first graders what they would like a parent to know about them. Here's what they said:

I Wish...
  • let me go first.
  • let us act out the stories we hear.
  • understand that I love to show people things I have made.
  • let us make and do lots of interesting things.
  • let me write my own prayers to God and let everyone pray them with me.
  • realize that I can't pay attention for very long.
  • greet me every day with a smile.
  • understand that it is hard for me to lose a game.
  • understand that I may get overly excited and need help to calm down.