The Language Arts curriculum is formulated to give the child an imaginative understanding of the letters of the alphabet. Just as in the distant past, mankind communicated through pictures, then symbols, and eventually through abstract letters that formed words; students too progress this way in the first grade. Through the use of storytelling and picture-making, the children develop a relationship to each of the letters. The foundation for reading is built through exercises in story comprehension, long- and short-term memory development, symbol recognition, phonemic awareness, and proper diction. As the year progresses, the letters and sounds are joined to make words and sentences. It is from these sentences that the students begin to read. Additional exercises in identifying short and long vowel sounds support their developing reading abilities.
Handwriting is the mark that we make in the world to communicate with others. At the Waldorf School of Garden City, beautiful and careful handwriting is encouraged. A great deal of time is spent in the practice of this art. In first grade, students will practice the capital letter forms and use them throughout the year to write in their main lesson books.