Cursive Writing, Grammar, Individual Reading, Speech and Drama, Four Math Processes, Long Division, Measurement, Farming and Gardening, House Building, Old Testament Stories, Mandarin, Spanish, Crochet, String Ensemble, Singing, Recorder, Movement and Games, Painting, Drawing and Modeling.
In grade three, through the themes of creation stories, house building and farming, the children are brought literally down to the earth in their education. The students themselves bring a special blend of capability and innocence, plus a powerful energy for work. Enthusiasm, from the Greek word meaning “infused with divine spirit”, is the quintessential third grade characteristic.
The students are connected to all that surrounds them in the world, yet they will experience a profound change in their inner lives during “the nine year change”. The pre-eminent mode of learning up until this age is imitation, where the child primarily replicates what teachers do and say. The child begins to experience a new emergence of self wherein he becomes more separate and distinct, more an individual. With this change, the child can be more objective and critical, but also experiences a period of separation and loneliness.
The curriculum for the third grade is crafted to help the child stand as an individual on the earth, confident of his ability to become a valued member of the human community. The stories of the Old Testament provide a metaphoric picture for the child of the separation from the parental home (Garden of Eden) and of the ability to make one’s way in the world through individual good deeds and the laws of the community (Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil). During these language arts blocks, students will be introduced to the parts of speech in grammar, spelling and cursive writing to facilitate their own independent writing skills.
On the practical side, the theme of house building and farming show the child how basic human needs are met on this earth through their social studies curriculum. The solidity of the foundation of a house, the firmness of the floor joists and the uprightness of the stud walls give the child a picture for his own development. Likewise, the farming block creates a picture of the bounty of the earth and of the human responsibility to care for our collective home. Children will study how human shelters have been made by many cultures, and the Native American way of life is especially interesting for students at this age.
The study of measurement in the mathematics and science curriculum allows the children to discover how human beings orient themselves on the earth. The children will learn about the earliest attempts to mark the passage of time by watching the cycles of nature, to the later inventions of the water clock and sundial, which they may construct as a class. How distance is related to the measurements in the human body (e.g., the king’s foot being “a foot”) is a fascinating discovery for how the human being is truly the “measure for all things.” Further topics in mathematics include carrying and borrowing, number patterns and word problems.
Students will continue their world language studies and begin to learn to count as well as name the animals, the members of their family, the parts of their body, foods, colors, and many more things. In music, the children will begin singing rounds and will learn to play violin, viola or cello and the soprano recorder. In fine and practical arts, the children will continue painting, crayon drawing, modeling with clay and they learn to crochet. Games and movement are further explored in the physical education curriculum.