Fifth Grade: The Child and the Curriculum
Although there is no major transformation between fourth and fifth grade as between third and fourth, there is much enhancement of what has already been gained. The fifth grader’s horizon has widened considerably; she has become steadier and more self-confident; she has an enhanced consciousness; she is more accustomed to being alone and to seeing the world in a new perspective.
Because the children are developing a stronger sense of their own personality, every opportunity is taken to teach them to respect others. Students are helped to differentiate clearly and accurately between the opinions and experiences of their own and of others. This is emphasized in their written and oral work, e.g. as applied in grammar, to the use of direct and indirect quotations. Writing focuses on clear presentation in sentence structure and paragraph construction. Students continue to strengthen spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
In math, the fifth graders practice long division and their work with fractions. They are introduced to decimals and the relationship between decimals and fractions. Free hand geometry evolves out of form drawing. The students experience the forms of nature as they draw geometric shapes and patterns, e.g. five and six pointed stars as related to the five and six petaled flowers, and the spiral of the unfolding fern.
History is an education of the students’ feelings rather than of their memory for facts and figures. It requires inner mobility to enter sympathetically into the ancient states of being that are so different from our own. Students study the progression of human consciousness beginning with the dreamy time of ancient India where the inhabitants longed to be back in heaven; to the people of Persia who felt it was necessary to transform the earth; to the peoples of Mesopotamia and Egypt who loved the earth and their earthly possessions so much that they were buried with them; to the golden age of Greece when men spent their fullest powers to make earth and life beautiful. In the spring the students participate in the Greek Pentathlon with students from other area Waldorf schools. The students are divided into city-states and vie for crowns of laurel in running, jumping, throwing of the discus and javelin, and Greek wrestling. The ideals of truth and beauty permeate the games.
While history moves from the unfamiliar past to the more personal and familiar present, geography takes the child away from himself, out into ever-wider spaces. His consciousness is stretched to all of North America. With their new sense of individuality, there is the possibility that students can become self-absorbed. Geography helps them to move beyond themselves and out into the world.
The pictures of nature in botany that are brought to the fifth graders also lead them outward to a warm connection with the world at a time when their developing sense of self threatens to cut them off from the world. Students study the major plant types as an integral part of their natural surroundings, noting climatic and geographical influences. The unfolding process of plant life is also examined.
Grade 5 Morning Lesson Blocks: Ancient Civilizations - India, Persia, Mesopotamian, and Egypt, Greek Mythology, Greek History, United States Geography, Botany, Decimals, Metric System, Free Hand Geometry, Class Play
Grade 5 Trips: Tress for Tomorrow and Pentathlon
Why people love Prairie Hill Waldorf School?