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First grade (called Year 2 in the UK) is the first grade in elementary school. It is the first school year after kindergarten in Canada and the USA. Children are usually 6–7 years old in this grade level.
- In Singapore, First Grade or more commonly known as Primary 1 begins when a child is seven years old.
- In Bahrain, the minimum age for the first grade is seven years old.
- In Sri Lanka, children enter Class 1 or 2 when they are six or seven years old.
- In Malaysia's education system, First Grade or most commonly known as Standard or Year 1 begins at the age of seven.
- In India, Children start school at age five.
- In Iran, Children start school at age seven.
- In Belgium, children aged 6 to 7 years old enter to la première année d'enseignement primaire (first year of elementary education).
- In Bulgaria, the minimum age for the first grade is six years old.
- In Finland, children are aged 6 to 7 years in the beginning of this grade.
- In France, first grade would correspond to cours préparatoire (preparatory course), more commonly called C.P.
- In Germany, it would correspond to Erste Klasse (literal translation: first class).
- In Greece, children are six years old.
- In Ireland, the equivalent is known as First Class or Rang a haon. Students are usually 6–7 years old, as it is the 3rd year of primary school.
- In Norway, children enter the first grade the year they turn six.
- In Poland children enter the 1st year of school (klasa 1) aged seven (since 2012 to 2016 the age was six, earlier also seven).
- In Portugal, children enter the 1st year of school (1º ano) aged five or six.
- In Slovenia, children are aged 5 years and 8 months to 6 years and 8 months in the beginning of this grade.
- In Sweden, children are seven years old.
- In Spain, children are five to six years old when they enter the 1st year of elementary school (Primer curso de EGB).
- In the Netherlands, first grade corresponds to Group 3, the third year of primary education.
- In Russia, children aged 6 to 8 years old enter первый класс.
- In Ukraine, children aged six to seven years old enter перший клас.
In England and Wales, the first year of school is called reception, and the pupils are 4 to 5 years old. However, the first compulsory school year is Year One, when children are five years old. As most primary schools have a reception class which is treated like a compulsory school year, i.e. the children wear uniform and have the same school hours, most children start school in reception. The first grade is the equivalent of Year Two.
Scottish pupils usually enter the corresponding stage one year younger. In Northern Ireland they are two years younger. In Scotland, first grade is equivalent to Primary 3. Pupils in Primary 3 are 7 to 8 years old. America call their primary education grade school where in Scotland they call it primary school as it would be primary 1 would start after Kindergarten (nursery) and you would be age 4 to 5 years of age. then it would be primary 2 the next year and so on up until primary 7 which would be your last year at primary school then you go off to high school.
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In math, students may learn about addition and subtraction of natural numbers, usually with only one digit, and about measurement. Basic geometry and graphing may be introduced. Clock and calendar time as well as money may also be in the curriculum.
In language, first graders are taught the fundamentals of literacy, including reading sentences, writing very simple statements and mastery of the alphabet, building on what the students have learned in kindergarten or other forms of pre-school (although because first grade is the first compulsory level of education in many U.S. states, the level of literacy in incoming students can vary widely). The expectations for first grade have changed due to the Common Core Standards. Curriculum is typically based on state standards developed by educators in each state. Most states use the Common Core Standards, so most schools across the country are using similar curricula. First graders are now expected to read and comprehend stories ranging in lengths and difficulty. They are also expected to show an improving fluency rate during the school year with ability to easily read stories by the end of the year.
Students are also typically introduced to the concept of social studies with an emphasis on establishing ideas of history or civics in either a personal or larger sense. Some states focus on the basics of US history and patriotism is taught, with a focus on the founding fathers and the time period surrounding the American Revolution; other states require a social studies focus on family relationships in first grade, leaving community, state, and nation studies to higher grades. Basic geography is also taught in the first grade. Focus on the school's municipal area and culture, along with basic state geography, may also be focused upon in first grade in some states. First grade science usually involves the discussion of matter, plant and animal science, earth materials, and balance and motion, along with the human body, and basic health and nutrition.
Science as inquiry is taught and practiced in first grade. Students are encouraged to observe the world around them and begin asking questions about things they notice. As they become more comfortable investigating the world around them, students will also begin asking better questions and making better, more advanced predictions.
- In Ethiopia children usually start grade 1 at the age of 6 or 7.
- In New Zealand, this level of class is called "Year 2." Children generally start this level when they are 6 to 7 years old.
"Year 1" generally begins if the child is received into a school on their 5th birthday when they turn such in the first few months of the year. If they are already 5 at the beginning of Year 1, they will most likely have had their 5th birthday in the latter part of the previous year, and have come up from "New Entrant" level.
- In Brazil, the minimum age for the first grade was changed from 7 to 6 years old. Actually, what happened was the first alphabetization grade, which was called simply Alfabetização (alphabetization), was renamed to be 1st grade, thus, all the following grades got renamed as well. Then, the last middle-school grade became the 9th grade, instead of 8th.