Did you miss the Class 8 play? Wish you could have been there? No worries. Parent extraordinaire Julie Fields captured the play on YouTube, and it can be found on her YouTube channel HERE. Thank you Julie!
“While the body is busy growing, it is time to challenge their thinking in different ways. We do this pretty well in Waldorf Schools as the curriculum has ramped up and is a bit more challenging with more writing, abstract math concepts, physics, challenging artistic activities etc. The children also begin team sports, participate in Medieval Games, and they are asked to take responsibility for their actions no matter how small, which typically involve peer interactions.”
At the end of the school year in sixth grade, the students perform service projects (such as working for the Cuyahoga National Park System) and participate in self reflection exercises and peer observation exercises. All of this is in preparation for this Knighting Ceremony. Where each child received a scroll which contains observations by some of their teachers as to the knightly (soul) qualities observed: For example: a student might read that they are an, “excellent, observant and listener,” a “beautiful artist,” or a “curious and fun with great sense of humor.”
From this point on they move forward in service as young adults ready for middle school where they will be asked to take on more responsibility both at Spring Garden and in the greater community at large.
Here are some more pictures from this year’s ceremony.
The mind and the body are not separate; they function as one. Waldorf Educators believe that, for children, learning without movement can be difficult. Waldorf educators also deeply know and study the mind body connection in regards to learning. Nothing represents this Waldorf culmination of physical and intellectual togetherness quite like the Fifth grade Pentathlon.
Fifth grade students are transitioning in development. After having come to realize the isolated self in third grade, they have grown into this reality and are now ready to look at the world around them in an ordered sense (space and time) to better understand their place within that world.
When it comes to physical education, the students are ready to emerge gently from the world of cooperative-only games and into the world of individual competition – a necessary transition before the sixth grade introduction of team-based sports.
These mind and body elements of readiness combine with Main lesson teachings of history and culture. Class 5 studies ancient history stretching from 3000 BC to 300 BC beginning with ancient India, moving to Persian culture the Chaldeans, Hebrews, Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians and ending with Greeks.
So as the end of the Class five Main Lesson school year wraps up Greek History, the end of the Class 5 Physical Education school years ends with a five event Greek Pentathlon: discus, javelin, wrestling, long jump and running. In gym class throughout the year, students will have prepared for their individual events and then will compete in an all day Pentathlon festival with other regional Waldorf schools.
Here are all six of the Fifth Grade classes in the 2013, Ann Arbor Pentathlon, singing Glorious Apollo together for the first time.
Waldorf Education: A family Guide
In this discussion of Class 5 curriculum, our source material is Eugene Swartz’s Millennial Child website, the grade description from Eugene Waldorf School of Eugene, Oregon, and Waldorf Education: A Family Guide by Fenner and Rivers, © Michaelmas Press– Fifth Grade written by East Bay Waldorf School in El Sobrante, CA.
Main Lesson subjects expand in Grade 5 to include, History, Geography, and Botany in addition to Mathematics and Language Arts.
History: Class 5 studies ancient history stretching from 3000 BC to 300 BC beginning with ancient India, moving to Persian culture the Chaldeans, Hebrews, Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians and ending with Greeks. The children will read poetry and myths, create maps, study hieroglyphics, and sample arts and crafts of the various ancient peoples and work to create similar creations.
Botany: After studying zoology in Grade 4, fifth graders are ready to discover the plant world. They start by experiencing what is in their own world using all their senses and the focus is on the metamorphosis the plants experience in roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruit. After understanding plant life found in their own environment, the students learn about vegetation in other parts of the world.
Geography: American geography is studied both physically and culturally, meaning the physical understanding of landscapes and mapping and make-up of mountains, rivers and prairies is linked with the way human life has been lived in each region such as how humans used natural resources, developed industry, and produced crops. Swartz describes this approach saying, “Students study Native American tribes that lived in varied environments, as well as the biographies of individuals who seem to exemplify a particular geographical setting. To further enrich the subject, we will learn regional poetry, tall tales and songs. We will learn something about the way our nation in governed.”
Math: Mathematics becomes more conceptual in grade 5 as students continue work on fractions and decimals and expand into basic geometric concepts.
Language Arts: Students continue to study language arts through composition, reading, writing, recitation of poetry and oral review of lessons. Grammar is delved into during this grade.
Music: Students continue in choral singing and playing their C-recorder flute along with progressing into more intermediate stringed instrument skills.
Physical education: This year students come together with other area Waldorf school to compete in a Greek Pentathlon which includes javelin, wrestling, and other historical events.
Special Subjects: Woodworking involves carving, knitting now uses four needles, form drawings and painting will relate to the study of Ancient History, Geography, Botany and Geometry. The study of Eurhythmy and Foreign Languages also continues.
Last week our sixth graders traveled to the Cincinnati Waldorf School to participate with 5 other schools in the inter-Waldorf School Medieval Games. This is a hands on experience of sixth grade curriculum, which studies Medieval history in depth.
Class Six children will study the rise and fall of Rome and the affect Greek and Roman culture had on European civilization up through the Middle Ages.
As the host of this year’s games, Cincinnati Waldorf says:”As students engage with these historic eras, they experience the shift from the Ancients’ poetic consciousness to the Medieval search for truth and development of modern scientific concepts, paralleling change in the sixth grade student. This study culminates in a two-day, Medieval Games beginning with a Medieval Feast featuring bards, musicians, food and live presentations by each sixth grade class.”
The competition includes sport such as jousting, archery, moat jumping, and tug-of-war. Here are some pictures from this year’s games!
So proud of all our students who share their many talents at Assembly. Here’s a wonderful video of Eighth graders, Patrick and Jackson, performing Haydn at our March Spring Garden Assembly. Great performance gentlemen!