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Elementary School

Education Timeline San Antonio

Making the First day of School Special for You and Your Child

Congratulations! You and your child have made it through Pre-K and kindergarten. Now, you’re ready for full days of learning. By now, most parents have found the right school and school district for their family and are prepared to build a solid educational foundation. Families sometimes embark on this new adventure by making the first day of elementary school memorable. They pick out a special first-day-of-school outfit or create signs for photos displaying the child’s age, grade, and hobbies. Read more on what to expect through your elementary school experience. 

Visit the school initially without your child. Tour the school and check out the library and computer centers. Get a feel for the kindergarten near you and explore all the possibilities with 

What is elementary school and why is it important?

Elementary school is your child’s time to grow, learn, explore, and make genuine friends.  The years between 1st and 5th grade is when students learn the foundations of core subjects like math, reading, science, as well as introductions to art, music, history, geography, health, sports, and more.  They learn social skills and behavior expectations.  They establish routines and follow schedules.  Elementary school prepares them for the next phase of their educational path. Many children begin extracurricular activities during the elementary years either at school, in afterschool programs, or in community clubs and organizations.  Students can take advantage of all the benefits of attending elementary schools that they might not receive from being in homeschool programs or attending an online elementary school.  Some of the best elementary schools are found right in our local communities- Find your child’s school here!

Embrace New Routines

  • Set a firm bedtime. Regular schedules help children get to sleep quicker and wake refreshed and ready to learn. Use calming rituals at bedtime like baths, reading, and soft music.

  • Plan for the following day. Pick out clothes and breakfasts with your child the night before.  This allows them some control over their choices.

  • Plan appealing snacks and lunches with your child and allow them to pack it up themselves. If your child will eat school lunches, teach them how to make healthy choices in the cafeteria line.

  • Establish solid rules for when and where homework is done. Set up a place for school supplies, books, backpacks, etc.

  • Discuss extracurricular activities and how they fit in the new school schedule. Plan a few age-appropriate chores for after school.

Things to Discuss with your Child

  • Find time to talk with your child about their feelings or anxieties about starting school.  Help prepare them by talking through a typical school day and answering questions.
  • Teach your child healthy habits. Help them learn to cough and sneeze into a tissue or elbow.  Remind them of the importance of proper handwashing and sharing toys and personal belongings.
  • Talk with your child about making friends, being kind, and how to avoid bullying.
  • Review with your child rules about talking to strangers and getting into unfamiliar vehicles.
  • Help your child memorize your home address and phone number.
  • Remind your child about pedestrian, biking, and bus safety. Teach them to use crosswalks correctly and to never walk behind buses.
  • Make the first day memorable by taking a photo of your children in their first day of school outfits or holding a first day of school sign.

Curriculum for Each Year of Elementary School

1st Grade
  • Decoding two-syllable words
  • Topic and opinion writing
  • Expanding sight-word vocabulary 
  • Number place value
  • Telling time 
2nd grade
  • Regrouping (borrowing)
  • Three-digit numbers, measuring, skip-counting, and currency
  • How to read irregularly spelled words 
  • Reading comprehension
  • Compound sentences and proper punctuation
  • Introduction to public speaking
3rd grade
  • How to do research projects
  • Math operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) and two-step problems
  • Fractions and graphs
  • How to prep for standardized tests 
  • Writing in cursive (Some schools do not teach cursive)
4th grade
  • Time-management skills for projects
  • Working with fractions, factors, decimals, measurement conversions, and angles
  • Inferring authors’ meanings 
  • Writing using narrative techniques and idioms 
  • Digital (or cyber) safety and etiquette
5th grade
  • Critical thinking skills 
  • Writing with similes, metaphors, and dialogue
  • Early algebra, decimals, fractions, volume, and graphing 
  • How to prepare for the transition to middle school


If you want to prepare your child for each grade, there are a myriad of resources. You can find first-grade spelling words and first-grade sight words, as well as first-grade math worksheets and first-grade reading comprehension tools online at places like There you can find practice curriculum by grade from first-grade worksheets to fifth-grade educational activities.

Sources and Additional Information


Go Public’s Education Timeline is the ultimate parent guide for navigating Pre-K through graduation. The purpose is to help parents know what to expect at each grade level and provide guidance on all that is offered in a public education. A huge benefit of public schools are the resources that support a student. The Education Timeline serves as a compass for navigating those resources. Each phase will also have helpful information, guides, and checklists.

The Timeline was researched and compiled from multiple sources cited throughout each phase. Refer to the timeline graphic below for the featured grade level. Click on each icon to learn more about what to expect and how to prepare.

Go Public content producer and parent of two public school students, Trina Pruitt, developed the Education Timeline to help herself and other parents learn what to expect at each phase of a child’s journey in school.

“The goal is to help parents know what to expect ahead of time so that important steps in the process aren’t missed. I love the fact that my daughters receive a public education. And, by using the Education Timeline, I’m confident that I’m not missing any opportunities along the way."
Tina Pruitt
Content Producer

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