While the third grade curriculum helped the child to reconnect to the world around them through practical studies and activities, the fourth grade curriculum helps the child orient themselves in space and time through a study of local geography. The children learn how to make and read maps beginning with their own neighborhood. Through classroom activities and field trips, they explore the physical geography of New York City and New York State, as well as its cultural history, beginning with the Native Americans indigenous to the region. They will learn about the adventures of explorers such as Henry Hudson and Peter Stuyvesant, who discovered a land of promise and beauty on the shore of the Hudson River, and the colony that became the great metropolis that New York is today.
Now that the ten year old can distinguish between the inner self and outer worlds, they can look at the world with greater objectivity. Thus, they can now begin to study science as a more formal discipline. In fourth grade the class focuses on Zoology, since the “animal kingdom” is the closest to the human being. Through this study the child learns how each animal is highly specialized and uniquely adapted to its environment. Through the studies of animals, the child also learns how we, as human beings, are not specialized the way animals are, and thus have the potential to do many things. The study culminates in the writing of a research report on a chosen animal.
In the Language Arts, the fourth grader hears Norse myths, from the Edda sagas. The colorful personalities of the gods, their strong wills, boldness, and feisty natures are a reflection of the ten year old. There is greater emphasis on independent writing. In grammar, the class reviews the parts of speech, and is introduced to verb tenses, and subjects and predicates. While the class continues reading aloud together, more time is given to independent reading. Each child is expected to write a book report.
In Math, the class strengthens concepts and skills introduced in third grade, and are introduced to fractions. They learn to add-subtract, multiply, and divide fractions. They are introduced to improper fractions and learn how to simplify fractions. Conversion of fractions into simple decimals is practiced. The children apply math concepts and skills in solving word problems.