Grades 5-6 overview
Grades 5-6: I Long for Discovery & Experience of Earth's Community of Life.
Each 2 year learning cycle in the Waldorf curriculum has an underlying theme that supports learners' developing consciousness and cognitive capacities.
In grades 5/6, the child arrives at a balance in their recognition of themselves as separate, but part of the world around them. They are confidently grounded in their Earthen belonging, and prepared to explore identity through an outward expansion of awareness, keen observation, and more complex, abstract thinking. Thematic lesson work begins to develop more complex language arts skills. Students edit their lesson book compositions for capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. Spelling quizzes may be part of their weekly rhythm. Parts of speech, verb tenses, active and passive voices of a verb are presented. Students may be asked to create their first research paper, where they will practice their language arts skills through a deeper dive into one of the year's themes. Thematic lessons in science challenge them to write accurate descriptions of what they observe, while history themes ask them to imaginatively describe events from the past.
The powerful intellect of the 5/6 grade student is accompanied by a longing for discovery, for more and deeper understanding of the human experience. This quality is engaged through historical studies of civilizations from long ago, and far away. Thematic lessons include Ancient China, India, Egypt, Persia, Mesopotamia. Students also learn more about cartography, navigation, map creation, geographical terminology through geographical studies of North and South America. As students to transition into emerging adolescence, thematics shift into a study of human civilizations that echo this phase of human development. Ancient Greece, Rome, and Early/Medieval Europe, the rise and fall of feudalism, early development of philosophical thought, the organization of human beings through guilds, and the over-extension of power reflect the inner life and developmental gesture of the learner, while offering a historical example of the consequences of unbridled exertion of power, will, and intellect.
In science, the study of Botany- of roots firmly anchored in the Earth, and leaves gesturing outward- also offers the student a symbolic mirror of their own development. Scientific themes also include studies of the foundational functionality of our universe through Physics- the rudimentary elements of heat, light, magnetism, electricity and sound. Earth science is introduced through geology & mineralogy. Earth's place in the universe is explored through Astronomy- also an echo of the students' developing consciousness and expanding intellect. Oftentimes, the sense of wonder that permeated the earlier years of childhood is reawakened during the learner's experience of these scientific themes.
In mathematics students continue to practice their work with whole numbers, fractions, and mixed numbers. Properties and number patterns learned previously are elaborated through prime numbers, abundance, factors, and prime factors. Decimals are introduced, and students begin to look at practical and business applications of mathematics. They may create a 'class business', where they gain experience of profit and loss, percentages, and foundational ideas of economics that will be further explored in the middle and high school years. Geometry is introduced during this cycle. Students learn to create precise drawings using a compass and straight edge, and while they familiarize themselves with angles, polygons, and circles.
Language arts, arithmetic, science, history, geography, and mythology are interwoven through the thematic lesson. Mathematics and Language Arts are also presented in a more focused, 30-40 minute 'extra lesson' periods.
Persia & Mesopotamia
North American Geography
Decimals & Fractions
Geology & Minerology
Business & Practical Mathematics
Animal Arts & Nature Immersion
Each morning before the thematic lesson period begins, and during Animal Arts class, children participate in farm animal care with feeding, grooming, communication & connection. During morning or afternoon recess, and also during many enrichment classes, children play, hike and explore our forests, creeks, fields, orchards and farm.
FIne & Practical Arts & handicrafts
Handicrafts: circular knitting, sewing/stitching, basketry, book arts
Fine Arts: Watercolor painting, Colored pencil drawing, perspective drawing
Games: Outdoor games, team sports
Music: Singing, musical notation, recorder
Movement: Rhythmic Movement, Eurythmy
Theater & Performance: Learners present an end of year play, drawn from Medieval Studies, Ancient Greece, or Rome.
Imaginative & free play
Unstructured, free play is so often undervalued in our current educational culture, even when multiple studies and direct experience tell us that childrens' imaginative capacities, empathic intelligence and development of self-regularity skills depend on it. Our daily rhythm includes ample, unstructured time for free play, and our environment provides a pristine natural canvas for imagination to guide the childrens' playtime.
Our daily rhythm & schedule
9:15- Arrival, contemplative walk, tending the animals, garden, spring
9:30- Morning circle begins-listening, songs, sharing, movement, eurhythmy
10:00- Thematic lesson begins
11:15- Snack & recess
1:45- Math practice, extra lesson, finish main lesson work
12:45- Lunch & recess
1:45- Specialty classes (handwork, music, animal arts, games)
2:45- Closing circle/cleanup
3:15- Pick up/van departure