All of the incredible things your child finds out in first grade are part of growing up and interacting with the world on a deeper level, and their combined effect is perhaps the most extraordinary lesson of all: Growing up means deciding for myself.
Not all the time, of course, and you may find yourself battling this realization at bedtime, but it's a stunning development to watch. In first grade, they have more independence than they did last year, and that means making decisions about which story to reach for first, walking down the hall to the bathroom all alone, and bringing home worksheets they need to do at home without the teacher watching.
First grade is so much about a growing sense of self-reliance, and with it, your child develops a greater sense of responsibility for his or her own actions and words. Lessons deal with connected concepts like making choices, taking calculated risks and learning from mistakes.
By the end of this year, your 7 year old will be looking more and more like the person he or she will be as a grown-up, more capable of expressing thoughts and emotions, of dealing with those emotions, and of sitting when he or she really, really wants to stand. With a successful and productive first grade year, children end up with some indispensable tools to deal not only with second grade but also with the diverse, complicated world in which they live.
For more information on first grade, including free worksheets and lesson plans, check out the links on the next page.