Grade Five is referred to as the “golden year” because students at this age are enthusiastic about learning, eager for new challenges, and capable of hard work and creativity.
Most students have good learning habits and are able to begin more detailed independent work. The language and history curriculum lets students explore ancient civilizations including India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece. Students hear the mythologies of these cultures and discuss their philosophies of creation, life and death, and religion. This year marks the change from prehistory and mythic representations to formal Western History (classical Greece).
“Waldorf education has for seventy years been putting into effect what major brain researchers and educators are discovering about the human mind.”
Professor, San Jose University
Through study of the ancient Greeks, students develop an appreciation for the balance between skill and beauty, art and science, earthly life and spirituality. In the spring, students participate in a five-event Greek Olympiad with Grade Five students from other Waldorf schools, allowing them to test their skills in a celebratory environment.
Geography is viewed in terms of how it influenced civilizations’ world views and connections to other cultures of the time. Working with early forms of writing, geometry, and architecture, students experience some of the roots of modern Western culture.
Botany is also introduced, bringing in concepts of the balance between beauty and nature, awareness of the natural world, and the connection between scientific observation and appreciation of beauty.
Main Lesson Subjects:
English composition, grammar, spelling, reading, and plays; Canadian geography; India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece; decimals, fractions, and freehand geometry; botany; a possible class play drawn from the curriculum.
French, German, music (four-part recorder, singing, orchestra, choir, a stringed instrument –violin or cello), eurythmy (a movement art) when possible, knitting with four needles, woodwork (carving), clay modeling, painting, physical education (traditional Greek pentathlon events, team sports skills, fitness).