Each day begins with the in-depth main lesson. Read how main lesson promotes learning.
Fifth Grade marks the beginning of the study of World History and the foundations of western civilization. The study encompasses the ancient civilizations of India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece between the periods of 10,000 to 300 B.C. The children are immersed in the myths, culture, geography, beliefs, and politics of each region and civilization.
History comes alive through writing, reading and reciting excerpts from original sources, such as The Ramayana, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, through art and visits to cultural institutions, and through the fifth grade Olympics.
English skills are taught as an integral part of the written work in the study of history, geography, and botany. There is also time for independent and shared reading. Grammar is reviewed from the previous year and new topics, such as prepositions and prepositional phrases, direct and indirect quotations, verb tenses, and subject and objects are introduced. Spelling and vocabulary skills are developed through weekly word lists.
While the study of history helps the children appreciate their own humanity, the study of geography draws the child out into the world. In fourth grade the children learned about their local geography. This year, their horizons are broadened as they study the geography of North America. The children will come to appreciate the contrasts in the physical geography, climate, plant and animal life, and culture of various regions on our home continent. The class will continue to develop skills in map making and reading, will be expected to identify the states and capitals, and present a report on one of the states.
Following a study of zoology in fourth grade, the science curriculum now turns to the plant kingdom in the study of botany. The children learn about the various parts of the plant and how they relate, the life cycle of the plant, and the miracle of photosynthesis. Additionally, they study the different types of vegetation in the various climate regions of North America. Observation, experimentation, and artistic work support this study.
In math, the fifth grade reviews and builds upon concepts taught in fourth grade, such as fractions. Now the student will be expected to convert fractions to decimals and percentages, and perform the four operations with decimals. The students learn how to draw and interpret graphs; line graphs, bar graphs, and circle graphs. They are introduced to geometric concepts such as perimeter, area, angles, and polygons. Metric measurement is introduced.
Following main lesson, students engage in 40 minute specialty subject classes, interspersed by short breaks and lunch.
Fifth Grade Olympics
A special feature of Fifth grade games class and an excellent example of the deep integration between classes can be found in the fifth grade Greek Olympics.
In a style reminiscent of a “field day,” Waldorf fifth graders experience a more dramatic immersion into the world of the classical Greek citizen-athlete.
Students from several local Waldorf fifth grade classes dress in white and are separated into Greek city-states to compete against each other in the five athletic events they’ve practiced during the year.
The Greek Olympic practice is accompanied by and complimented by classroom work which examines Greek civilization and culture, mythology, includes learning a Greek folk dance that all students perform together at the games, student-written essays to a Greek deity as an ancient competitor might do asking for favor in the games.
Students have practiced and will compete in javelin throwing, running, long jump, discus throw and standing,sumo-style wrestling. The event is stunning and the impact of such an experience lasts a lifetime.