Fourth grade marks the beginning of the transition from early childhood to what Waldorf refers to as the “heart of childhood.” Children this age become more self-confident as their perception of the world sharpens, but at the same time their experience of separation from their surroundings can be quite painful. The children begin to form their own personality in response to their experience of the world, consciously choosing those qualities that will go into their characters.
In 4th grade, we emphasize:
Norse mythology: As the children become more aware of the world, the challenges of life may seem overwhelming. The Norse stories give the children the strength to face these challenges.
Relationship to the world: Fourth-grade children continue their exploration of the world around them through the study of local geography.
Importance of human deeds: The fourth-grade curriculum repeatedly emphasizes the importance of human deeds. Thus the study of Idaho history focuses on the men and women who played a part in creating the culture we live in.
Opportunities for independence: The teacher meets the growing interest of the children in more concrete areas of knowledge and provides them with opportunities for more independence in their work.
Relationship between humans and animals: Students study the relationships that exist between the human being and the animal kingdom. They begin to see the unique and responsible position they hold as human beings upon the earth.
Fractions: This is the proper time for introducing fractions. By cutting up apples, baking and cutting pies and pizzas, and creating parts of a whole, the children are given a visual experience of fractions before forming mental concepts.
The 4th grade curriculum includes:
Math: Four-digit multiplication; continuation of long division; fractions; averages; factoring
Literature & Grammar: Elements of grammar; continuing cursive; miniscule block print; creative alphabets; punctuation; book reports; creative writing; composition; Norse mythology, Indian Legends and local history
Science: Zoology, animals in their environment; continuation of gardening and nature studies
Music and Performing Arts: Singing and flutes/recorder in rounds; possible addition of violin/cello; music theory; choir
Art: Advanced (woven) form drawing; painting; clay modeling of animals
World Language: Spanish continued (songs, plays, poetry, conversations, cultural activities, vocabulary, beginning writing)
Handwork: Cross-stitch; embroidery; knotting; braiding (creating patterns from front to back)
History & Social Studies: Idaho and local history
Geography: Idaho and local geography; map making
Physical Education: Folk dancing; Relay Races