Third grade is often a year of dramatic transformation for the student’s individual identity. At around nine years of age, students experience a new sense of self as they ask and are confronted with the question, “Who am I in relation to others and to the world?” Waldorf educators identify this important transition and realization of selfhood as the nine-year change. At this time students move their feelings inward as they become more independent in thought and action.
Often students become more critical at this stage; they are beginning to test everyone and question everything. Children begin to see that they will one day have to leave the parental nest and make their own way in the world.
This transitional process is supported in the curriculum by connecting students with task-oriented experiences in life, often called "Doing Work." The students study building construction, farming and gardening and other hands-on practical tasks. They take on more responsibilities and “do work” to experience the ways that they personally affect the world. In this way they see the evidence and outcomes of their efforts. As groups they gain ownership of projects and participate in communal initiatives to achieve practical goals like building a shelter.
In classwork the children hear the Old Testament Stories that thematically reflect the third grader’s growing self-awareness in the developmental transition of the 9-year change. They read and write more independently and learn cursive. A weekly Hebrew lesson immerses the students in the language and culture of the Jewish people. In Math, fractions, multi-digit multiplication and long division are introduced. There is continued practice with the four basic operations. Children learn measurement (distance, capacity, weight and time) which is an important component in the gardening, shelters and building blocks. Children master their multiplication tables through movement and memorization practice.
Third graders also begin formal Gym classes which usually involve cooperative games. In Music instruction, students chose a string instrument (Violin, Viola, Cello or Base) and are introduced to the basics of instrument handling, reading and playing music. They also begin to learn vocal harmonies.
Main Learning Objectives
- Main Lesson Skills: "Doing Work," Life Skills, Farming, Hebrew culture and language, Individually build a scale-model diorama "shelter project."
- Language Arts: Stories from the Old Testament; spelling skills, independent reading and writing, dictation practice, nouns, verbs and adjectives, Cursive Handwriting
- Mathematics: Multi-digit multiplication and long division are introduced. Children learn measurement of distance, capacity, weight and time. Children master their multiplication tables through movement and memorization practice.
- Sciences: Farming, Shelters, Biodynamic Farm Field Trip where students work in the fields.
- Art: Painting, Beeswax Modeling and Drawing
- Foreign Language: German, Spanish
- Handwork: Crochet
- Music: Singing, Introduction to string instrument (violin, viola, cello, bass)
- Gym: Students begin taking gym with a year of cooperative games
- Eurythmy: Balance and Poise