Grades 4-5



Emotional/Social Development

Ten-year-olds are “out in the world” much more than they were even a year ago. They seek independence, objectivity, a sense of direction and spatial orientation, and empathy with others. Eleven-year-olds are poised between the early grades and the upper grades, having achieved a newly easygoing, cool, calm and collected demeanor—an emotional Golden Age also referred to as “the calm before the storm” (of adolescence).

Physical Development

The ten-year-old grows quickly. Limbs lengthen and grow more capable. At some point before turning twelve, the child achieves a balanced, perfectly proportioned stage of physical development, sometimes called the “Golden Age of Childhood.”

Intellectual Development

4th and 5th Graders are balanced between past and future in terms of their ability to think, which develops rapidly yet is still colored and shaped by strong imaginative capacities. The uncompromising logic of the Upper Grades has not yet appeared.

How the Waldorf Curriculum Supports Each Stage

4th and 5th Grades are pivotal years. The curriculum is increasingly wide-ranging and challenging:
  • spatially, it leads students ever further into the worldfrom their local sphere of reference (their rooms) out to the continental level (North America), from where it will continue to grow each year until it reaches the global level by 8th Grade;
  • temporally, it leads them ever closer to the present moment—from an ancient mythological consciousness onto the stage of history, a journey culminating in the modern day in 8th Grade.
The subject matter grows more intellectually demanding, but learning continues to be an engaging, multi-sensory, whole-child process that addresses all learning styles. The rich, colorful curriculum incorporates music, art, poetry, drama, crafts, and movement. Homework now appears, consisting primarily of creative projects, reading, completing class work, practicing one’s stringed instrument, or a challenging math problem.



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