Fifth Grade Curriculum

  • Language Arts: Ancient Indian, Persian, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Greek culture and myths; literature; grammar; writing; recitation of poetry
  • Social Studies: Festival celebrations; land and culture of ancient India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece; Greek history; North American geography
  • Science: Botany
  • Math: Decimals; more complex fraction problems; freehand geometry
  • Spanish: Grammar; vocabulary; conversation; songs; dances; poetry
  • Art: Wet-on-wet watercolor painting; clay modeling; colored-pencil drawing
  • Practical Arts: Knitting socks on four needles; gift-making
  • Drama: Re-enactment of stories; class play; assembly performances
  • Music: Diatonic flute ensemble; singing; strings ensemble
  • Movement: Two outdoor recesses a day; Eurythmy; traditional dance; physical education including Pentathlon training; daily rhythm/coordination exercises

Fifth Grade Highlights

Balance and Form

The dreamy consciousness of earlier grades now gives way to an intellectual awakening. This is mirrored in the study of ancient cultures, which surveys a huge sweep of time, beginning with the mystical world of ancient India and ending with the Greeks, inventors of logic. The students enter recorded history, tracing the development of modern consciousness which will culminate in the eighth grade study of current events. A similar expansion takes place in geography: the students’ consciousness of place extends to the continent of North America, challenging their increased capacity for memorizing, visualizing, and drawing maps.

In math, emerging intellectual faculties let students move easily from fractions to decimals; in grammar, they grasp subtle differences such as that between the direct and indirect objects of a verb. The beauty and symmetry of geometry is experienced freehand, as yet unencumbered by the technical requirements of compass and ruler. In science, the study of our fellow creatures now turns to botany, one step removed from last year’s engaging animal kingdom, but still capable of eliciting fascination, wonder, and careful observation. The stringed instrument begun in third grade now becomes a mainstay in the student’s life at home and at school. The fifth grade’s traditional participation in the Greek Pentathlon meets their new capacity for sustained physical effort with form, in javelin throwing, long jump, discus throwing, wrestling, and running.

Field trips may include Hindu temple; museums; botanical garden; nature walks/hikes. All fifth graders participate in the Pentathlon—the Greek Olympiad competition with other Waldorf fifth grades.
At the end of fifth grade, the students are poised and ready for the leap known as the “twelve-year change,” into the turbulent, exciting world of adolescence. From sixth through eighth Grade, to meet the students’ new realities with the challenges they need and want, the Waldorf curriculum undergoes a number of dramatic changes.

Fifth Grade Handwork: Knitting

Fifth graders should make something to wear that takes the shape of some part of the body. The feet are a good starting place for this age, when they begin to stand more firmly on the ground.

Socks with the intricate shaping of the heel, involving mathematical progressions, are the perfect project for them. Making socks calls on their intellect and on an active will.

-David Mitchell and Patricia Livingston, Waldorf Educators
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