The effort to complement students' natural abilities begins at an early age and continues throughout their time at a Waldorf school. It is encouraged by the curriculum and supported by the fundamental understanding that a child's strength should not become their weakness because of one-sided development.
Understanding Waldorf Education
Developmental Profile of a Grade 5 Child*
This age marks the pivotal point between childhood and puberty and the child attains a certain ease and grace of movement intrinsic to the age. Movement that is coordinated, balanced and harmonious is a key-note of the developmental stage. Cognitively, the children are more able to understand questions and phenomena in a realistic and reasoning manner.
Out of the growing memory powers, a sense for time has developed. Memory allows for looking back and planning for the future and, combined with deepening feeling, for the emergence of conscience and responsibility.
Intellectually and morally, the child is ready for new challenges. Foundations for the basic skills in numeracy and literacy have been set down in the tenth year. Elementary notions of personal responsibility and a faculty for understanding "right from wrong" in a "reasoning spirit" may be grasped from this age.
Fifth graders are enthusiastic about learning, eager for new challenges and capable of hard work and creativity. They still have openness to the world, and a level of confidence that makes them easy to teach. They stand perfectly balanced at a point in their development that places them at ease in the world, harmonious in themselves and in their environment.
The children now feel secure enough in their sense of self to begin the exploration of the world in ever-widening circles of time and space. In geography, they study the United States and its neighboring North American nations. In history, they meet the ancient civilizations of India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece through the study of mythology and culture.
Plant life is the focus of science, and decimals are introduced in the mathematical lessons. Instrumental music, singing and artistic studies continue.
Grade 5 Core Subjects
* Reference: The Educational Tasks and Content of the Steiner Waldorf Curriculum,
Edited by Martyn Rawson and Tobias Ritcher