By second grade, children have a depth of imagination, interest and focus that is strongly attuned to learning. They become increasingly aware of their experiences in the larger world and the values and perspectives of others. Their sense of community deepens as they extend notion of “family” to classmates and teachers. While in Grade One a mood of wholeness develops in the children, in Grade Two this mood can become dualist, with a reverential mood on the one hand, and a temptation for mischief on the other. During this year, the children develop greater interest in the unique qualities of one another and become curious about individual differences. To meet this growing social awareness, teachers introduce stories where contrasting human qualities are portrayed. Wonder tales, legends and stories of good, kind, and strong people from around the world embody lofty striving and highlight noble human qualities, while animal fables and trickster tales satisfy the child's interest in mischief. While the morals of these tales are not explicitly stated, the students derive direction and form from the images they are given.
Through experiencing oral storytelling with rich language and vocabulary and writing, students work with daily practice on their developing language skills. This year a depended emphasis on language arts, form drawing and nature stories prepare the second graders for writing and reading. The children may begin to learn cursive writing by “joining up” the printed letters of last year. Grammar is introduced with liveliness and humor by acting out stories in which the children can experience the contrast between "doing" words, "naming" words, and "describing" words.
Reading builds on the first-grade curriculum beginning with reading from what is written. The children learn to read from their own handwriting and the teacher’s. Sight words are practiced, and there is a special emphasis on the nature and quality of vowel sounds as well as other phonics study. Reading progresses initially from reading poems, verses, and songs that have been learned by rote. Words and short stories are introduced, allowing the children to begin decoding the English language. As the children work in their lesson books, there is a consistent reinforcement of the connection between the written and the spoken word. Second graders also often take part in reading groups.
Form drawing in second grade incorporates exercises combining both straight and curved lines which allow the students to make the transition to lower case cursive letters. This discipline also includes symmetry exercises that emphasize left and right, and mirror images of above and below, further illustrating the duality that children experience at this age. Each of these forms has a distinct challenge that helps in the integration of the students in their development, and these challenging exercises develop the child’s cognitive ability and flexible thinking.
In written work and rhythmic movement exercises, students practice multiplication, division, subtraction, and addition. The children carry out more complicated operations with the four processes. Imaginative stories still form the basis of these problems. Through rhythmic counting accompanied by accented clapping and movement of the whole body, they learn to count by twos, threes, fours, and fives, etc., and begin learning the multiplication tables. Number patterns, families and the dynamic quality of numbers in number lines and circles are explored. Place value is also studied through imaginative story, practice and manipulatives.
Science in the second grade is based primarily upon observation of nature. The students are encouraged to notice the change in the seasons, in the earth and plants and the weather. The second grader also studies the celebration of festivals from many different world cultures and how they relate to the changing of seasons.
The second graders use pentatonic flutes. After the basic technique is mastered, the songs played can be songs that are currently being sung in the daily morning circle.
Painting continues to be a weekly practice. Painting employs a wet-on-wet watercolor technique. This creates a medium for discovering the qualities of the primary colors. The nature of color is found experientially. The students are introduced to various techniques, compositions and themes based upon morning lesson work or color studies. Form is derived secondarily from the color work. This work is preparing them for the physics of light and color in sixth grade. All aspects of the curriculum and subject classes are imbued with art. There is an artistic element in all of the lesson books. This can include page borders, layout, illustrations and lettering. Although there is not a formal “drawing” class, art is an integral part of the overall teaching, and it allows the students to express the formal lessons in an artistic and creative manner.
Second grade may also present a play that is performed for the parents or for the school. The plays are learned orally by the whole class and generally are performed choral style.
Fables, legends, and stories of saints heroes
Lower case letters
Alliterative verses, tongue twisters, seasonal songs
Introduction to punctuation, grammar, and phonics
Reading, writing, and ordering numbers to 1000
Seasonal stories and songs
Recitation of poems about nature
Games & Movement
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” -- William Butler Yeats