Grammar, Punctuation, Composition, Reading, Speech and Drama, Long Division, Fractions, Human and Animals Study, Local and Minnesota History, Map-Making, Norse Mythology, Mandarin, Spanish, Cross-Stitch Design, Woodwork, String Ensemble, Choir, Recorder, Movement and Games, Painting, Drawing and Modeling.
In the fourth grade, the children have left early childhood behind, but have not yet begun puberty. The teacher increasingly experiences the children as emerging individuals with strong personalities and distinctive gifts and talents, as well as challenges. The children have lingering characteristics of the nine year change as their self consciousness intensifies and their perception of the world continues to sharpen.
Cognitively, the children are more able to form independent mental images and to recall them at will. Though the pictorial element is still strong in their thinking, reasoning begins to emerge in a more objective kind of way since the child can now distinguish between his environment and himself, and between what are past, present and future.
The Waldorf curriculum meets the fourth grade child’s development by bringing forth, from the past, the Norse myths whose gods and goddesses exemplify strong individual characteristics, both for the good and for mischief. Where the children experience life as overwhelming and challenging, they find kindred spirits in the Norse gods and goddesses who met life headlong with courage, compassion, faithfulness, sacrifice and, occasionally, cleverness run amok.
In present time, the study of local geography helps the children establish their place on this earth. They learn to make maps of their classroom, school and neighborhood and discover the directions of north, south, east and west as they are manifested by the movement of the sun and planets. This gives the children a sure way to find themselves in the here and now. This is true in their bodies as well, for by this time the children should have become quite coordinated in the three aspects of space: forward/back, left/right, up/down.
The students also have the opportunity to discover the wondrous versatility of the form of the human being in the Man and Animal, a zoology block. Here the children study the specialized skills and habits of the animals and come to realize how upright posture, the organs of speech and the adaptability of the hands contributes to the uniqueness of the kingdom of the human being. Likewise, the children can see the responsibility that belongs to the human being toward the other kingdoms of nature due to his own special abilities.
Just as the world is no longer one whole for the children, the study of fractions enters in the mathematics curriculum. Concrete experiences of making and cutting up pizzas and pies, and anything else the teacher can find to break into parts, becomes the basis for the abstract experience of adding, subtracting, multiplying, reducing and expanding fractions.
The work in the world languages can now include simple reading, grammar and written work. The fine and practical arts will include clay modeling, geometric figures, form drawing, water color painting and cross-stitch embroidery. Woodworking is introduced. Music classes continue with singing canons, singing rounds, and using harmonies. Instrumentally, the children continue recorder playing and playing their string instruments in a group, both of which now require reading from notation.