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PDS first graders, with or without teeth, are ready to take on the world — or at least the elementary division.

First graders build their reading skills through multisensory activities like this one — creating compound words using Duplo bricks.

Building on a firm early childhood foundation, first graders set out to become confident readers, writers, and mathematicians. Daily small group instruction provides an ideal setting for the boys as they take risks and engage in critical and creative thinking skills. Along the way these curious, wide-eyed wonders grow socially and emotionally in a classroom environment that promotes community and collaboration. These boys aren’t just first graders; they are detectives discovering similarities and differences in the world around them.

Language Arts

  • Learn phonics through an Orton-Gillingham based approach
  • Use decoding skills to read with accuracy, fluency, and expression
  • Recognize sight words in isolation and in context
  • Apply comprehension strategies to gain understanding of text
  • Begin to self-monitor reading and make connections
  • Demonstrate understanding of spelling rules and patterns
  • Identify as an author and participate in Writer’s Workshop
  • Practice narrative, opinion, and informational writing
  • Begin to understand sentence structure and parts of speech

Social Studies

  • Answer the question “What is a city?” through inquiry-based investigation
  • Identify important places and people in a city
  • Compare/contrast rural vs. urban living
  • Understand the importance of laws
  • Research Memphis history and culture
  • Identify needs in Memphis and discuss ways to serve others
  • Understand that children can make a difference in Memphis


  • Count forward by 2s, 5s, and 10s and backward by 1s
  • Count objects accurately and make reasonable estimates
  • Identify even and odd numbers
  • Compare and order whole numbers up to 100
  • Identify and understand place value to 100s
  • Learn addition and subtraction facts to 18
  • Add and subtract 2-digit numbers with or without regrouping
  • Identify fractional parts of a whole
  • Interpret and solve simple word problems
  • Measure using nonstandard and standard tools
  • Recognize, compare, and count coins of various values
  • Tell and show time to the nearest hour and half-hour
  • Identify geometric shapes and properties of those shapes
  • Collect, organize, and interpret data using graphs
  • Apply math skills to real-life situations


  • Compare and contrast Earth’s materials and how they affect plants
  • Identify the states of matter and the properties of each state
  • Begin to understand the water cycle and how each step works together
  • Identify simple machines and demonstrate how they are used
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We intentionally educate and nurture the heart, soul, mind, and body of each boy.

Guiding Principles

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We know, nurture, and love each boy as a unique child of God.

Guiding Principles

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We teach the Bible and model the Christian faith to our boys.

Guiding Principles

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We aren't just teachers; we are life-long learners and students.

Guiding Principles

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We push students to engage as thinkers.

Guiding Principles

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In an increasingly connected world, our curriculum has a global perspective.

Guiding Principles

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Flexible teaching strategies seek to maximize learning for each boy.

Guiding Principles

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Our assessments aren't just a way to measure learning — we want our boys to demonstrate understanding.

Guiding Principles

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We seek to enroll boys from diverse backgrounds.

Guiding Principles

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We seek balance and excellence in all we do.

Guiding Principles

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We aren't just boy-friendly; we're boy-specific.

Guiding Principles

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Our program sets a foundation of learning that will help boys thrive beyond PDS.

Guiding Principles

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We take time to make sure our faculty and staff are growing spiritually.

Guiding Principles

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We hold high standards for ourselves, pushing ourselves to reflect, renew, and grow.

Guiding Principles