A Developing Member in the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America
Serving Children From Early Childhood Through Eighth Grade
As students in 3rd grade, children recognize themselves as individuals. They begin to see differently, are more critical, and question everything. Their need to experience is met in our curriculum through the study of farming, gardening, food preparation, house building and clothing. They begin to study subjects in blocks of 3-4 week each.
History: Comparative cultures in studies of houses, food and clothing.
Literature: Stories from the Old Testament as metaphor for inner experience. Adam and Eve leave the Garden of Eden and children see that they must one day leave the parental nest and make their own ways. Native American legends.
Geography: The study of house building starts with discovery that first home on earth is the student’s own body. They learn about many different dwellings that people built over time and in different parts of world. The students may work on a small house-building project.
English and Grammar: The students start the fundamentals of grammar, identifying different kinds of words. Regular reading practice becomes part of class rhythm, as does cursive writing skills and formal spelling. Stress is placed on simplicity, clarity and beauty of written work. All letters are presented in context of written words, in meaningful sentences and poems, not one letter at a time. Students will begin to recite individual lines in a class play. Poetry, composition, and speech continue as part of the curriculum.
Science: Study of farmer in nurturing, cultivating, and protecting each kingdom of nature. Students experience the farmer’s role in baking, canning, cooking, and an overnight visit to working farm. They plan and harvest a small garden at the school. Starting with a single farmer, they expand to all human activity in nature: gardening, farming, house building, grains, and clothing around the world.
Math: The students concentrate on how we orient ourselves on earth through study of measurement. Ancient peoples marked passage of time observing cycles of nature so the children begin their study with the invention of devices to measure time and may make their own sundials or water clocks. They investigate how distance was originally measured by time—a day’s journey, etc.—and how modern units of distance measurement originated in human body—king’s foot, king’s thumb equals an inch. They discover that the human being is ‘the measure of all things’. Work with four processes continues, including concentration exercises such as counting, stepping backwards, forwards and clapping. Other subjects covered include: linear, dry and liquid measurement, properties of weight, money and time; carrying/borrowing and advanced application of basic operations; multiplication tables; long division.
Music: Students begin work on the diatonic scale. They learn to sing separate parts in rounds and begin to play recorder. They may also take their choice of the violin, viola, or cello.
Artistic work: Exploration of relationship of colors in painting begins. Form drawing focuses on symmetry, forms that metamorphose, and more complicated running forms. Colored pencils are introduced for increased drawing details. Beeswax scenes emerge from story content. Scale models are completed for house building.
Spanish: Study focuses on body, geography, days of the week, months, and time telling.
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