Our energetic first-grade students excitedly skip into school through the Onwentsia entrance. Any first-day jitters are quickly replaced by enthusiasm about moving from the Early Childhood Center to the classrooms in the Lower School wing. So, it's no surprise that first-grade classrooms are just as bustling and industrious as the students that inhabit them!

First grade is a time of increasing independence—from walking to class without an adult to completing homework each evening. Students at this grade level love pondering new ideas; asking questions; and learning through games, poems, songs, field trips, and hands-on projects. Their ability to understand a variety of points view is growing, and they are beginning to understand past and present and why things happen. Socially, first-grade students are learning to develop and maintain friendships.

At LFCDS, we focus a lot on respect and what it means to be part of a community. Each classroom develops its own group agreement about standards for behavior. First-grade students regularly attend and participate in weekly Lower School Community Meetings. In late September, there is great anticipation about meeting their fifth-grade buddies as they join the House System, a tradition of pairing Lower and Upper School classes. The students will enjoy several activities each year with their buddies who will be part of their lives until they younger students move into the Upper School and their buddies graduate from LFCDS.

Highlights of the First-Grade Experience

List of 8 items.

  • Discovery

    Dipping a net to discover and observe prairie insects and frogs at a local nature preserve
  • Chinese Dragon Parade

    Taking part in a Chinese Dragon parade and eating Chinese delicacies with chopsticks as a celebration of Chinese New Year
  • Henna Art

    Practicing the art-making tradition of henna while learning about the culture and history of India
  • Learning About History

    Learning about history by interviewing a grandparent or elderly friend
  • Making a Difference

    Making a difference by planting flowers to beautify the courtyard for eighth-grade graduation
  • Performance Art

    Experiencing performance art such as a play, poetry slam, or dance
  • Forging Relationships

    Forging relationships in the School community through House events
  • Responsibility

    Taking on the responsibility of doing homework, Word Sorts, and Math Facts

Curriculum Guide


List of 9 members.

  • Photo of Glenda Barnwell

    Glenda Barnwell 

    First-Grade Teacher (1GB), First-Grade Team Leader
    (847) 615-6145
  • Photo of Nancy Clifford

    Nancy Clifford 

    First-Grade Teacher (1NC)
    (847) 615-6144
  • Photo of Mark DeBernardi

    Mark DeBernardi 

    Visual Art Teacher
    (847) 615-6179
  • Photo of Marie Dohnke

    Marie Dohnke 

    Grade 2 Teacher (2MD)
    (847) 615-6147
  • Photo of Jason Gronkiewicz-Doran

    Jason Gronkiewicz-Doran 

    Grade 6 Social Studies Teacher
    (847) 615-6164
  • Photo of Maria Hempen

    Maria Hempen 

    Early Childhood and Lower School Music Teacher, Early Childhood Spanish Teacher
    (847) 615-6184
  • Photo of Kevin Nicholson

    Kevin Nicholson 

    Early Childhood & Lower School Science Teacher
    (847) 615-6154
  • Photo of William Scroggins

    William Scroggins 

    Physical Education & Wellness Teacher
    (847) 615-6232
  • Photo of Suzanne Stanczak

    Suzanne Stanczak 

    Physical Education & Wellness Teacher
    (847) 615-6122
A co-educational independent private school for students age 2 through Grade 8.
Graduating students of strong character with a passion for learning since 1888.
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Lake Forest Country Day School