First Grade

In first grade we build upon the rhythms established in the kindergarten, extending to a full day of joyful learning imbued with wonder, creativity, music and movement.

Topics introduced in first grade include:

  • Pictorial and phonetic introduction to the letters of the alphabet
  • reading from writing
  • rhythmic poems
  • speech exercises
  • form drawing of curves, straight lines and patterns
  • qualities of numbers and elements of addition, subtraction,  multiplication, and division
  • counting, Roman numerals
  • fairytales
  • foreign language
  • songs, games, and poems
  • pentatonic recorder
  • seasonal songs
  • wet-on-wet painting using the three primary colors
  • knitting using two needles
  • beeswax modeling using scenes from fairy tales and simple figures
  • the wonder of nature through simple observation
  • nature studies from stories in an imaginative manner
  • circle games


Dara Cantrell

Dara was born and raised in Ashland. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Music from SOU before moving to New York City, where she received her Master’s in Education. She and her family spent a year and half living and traveling in Eastern Europe, before returning to the Rogue Valley in 2010, which is when she began her journey at Madrone Trail. She took her first class from first grade all the way through eighth grade, who graduated with flying colors in 2018.

In 2019, Dara began the journey again with her second class of first graders, the Sunflower Class. She is excited to utilize all the knowledge and skills she has gained over the past nine years. Dara is passionate about Waldorf education and loves the Madrone Trail community deeply. She loves to share her passion for music, and her experience and knowledge with others in the community and thrives on connection and cooperation. Dara has three children of her own, all of whom also attend Madrone Trail.