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.