The fourth grader is at odds with the world. Questions take on a personal twist: “How do you know?” There is an earnestness stemming from a new awareness of just what they are up against in the world. Therefore every possible opportunity is given to meet these oppositions in quite unexpected ways, ways in which the child can have the experience of crossing and at the same time be led towards a wholesome resolution. In handwork, original designs are made which produce colorful design that is executed in tiny cross stitches. The result is a beautiful wholeness from many little crossings.

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In form drawings the Celtics knots are challenging tangles of skill and beauty. The feeling of separateness comes in handy here, otherwise one might get lost in the maze. The theme of separateness is further reflected in the mathematics curriculum with the study of fractions. They are introduced with concrete objects to demonstrate the truths before forming mental concepts.

Geography, local history, Norse mythology, grammar, composition writing, and a comparative study of humans and animals are also introduced. In composition simple narration of the child’s own real experiences begins and works in grammar continues.

The fourth grade child is introduced to string instrument something delicate and yet powerful that will not answer endless questions nor oblige with shortcuts to success. A new discipline and respect is called for in the child. There stands the player, and there the instrument, as separate as anything could be. The music is the bridge. Students come together once a week to play as an orchestra.

Throughout the year the children read stories of heroes. The hero emerges as someone to look up to, emulate, laugh at, respect. There may still be miraculous feats and yet the human qualities, the emotions, the struggles, and the confrontations are emphasized; the children understand more than anyone else the hero’s plight to slay the dragon!

Source: Chanticleer, Waldorf Education – A Family Guide
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