3rd Grade - A New Outlook Towards the World


Developmental Picture of the Student

In third grade the child experiences a new sense of self. Students begin to question, ‘Who am I in relation to others and to the world?’ In Waldorf education we recognize this stage of self-discovery as the nine-year change. New capacities for thinking and judgment are emerging. The younger child’s experience of the unity of all things matures into the third grader’s awareness of a distinctly separate inner life. Strong opinions, likes and dislikes are emerging. The children begin to develop a more realistic view of everyone and everything around them.

How the Curriculum Meets the 3rd Grader

The primary lessons material, ancient Hebrew stories, serves as an appropriate metaphor for the child’s inner experience. The child understands on some level what it is to leave paradise, step into the real world and begin to stand on his or her own. In response, the curriculum connects them to meaningful, practical work such as construction, farming, and gardening. Developing these skills builds confidence and capacity. The Hebrew stories provide students with strong role models who show courage and determination. They engage students with foundational language arts work that leads into writing and independent reading.

In the developing third grader new capacities for thinking and judgment are emerging as they become more independent in thought and action. Waldorf educators identify this important transition and realization of selfhood as “the nine-year change.”

In math, the children continue work with the four basic operations through the measurement of distance, capacity, weight and time. Measurement plays an important role in the gardening and building projects, creating a natural bridge between subjects. The study of time, including how to read an analog clock, and the cyclical changing seasons exposes the class to the ongoing rhythms of life. A weekly Hebrew lesson immerses the students in the language and culture of the Jewish people.

Third graders also begin formal gym classes where basic movement skills are taught through games. In music instruction, students choose a string instrument (violin, viola, cello or base) and are introduced to the basics of instrument handling, reading and playing music. Through stories and hands-on experiences third graders begin to understand the human being’s potential for courage, determination, skill and capacity.


Stilt Houses are one of the types of dwellings studied in the 3rd grade curriculum's Shelters Block Projects




- Farming & gardening: growing and cultivating
  food rhythms in the cycle of a year
- Measurements: calculating distance,
  capacity, weight & time
- Introduction of multi-digit multiplication
- Introduction of long division

- Hebrew and other stories that relate the
  ‘bounty of the earth’ such as farming and
  historical fables
- Students practice independent reading 
- Introduction to the basic parts of speech;
   noun, verb, adjective and adverb
- Reviewing stories to develop comprehension
  and sequencing
- Writing a simple story independently

- Hebrew language, culture, rituals & history
- Shelters: understanding climate and location
  in relationship to ancient and modern house
  building techniques
- Grains: importance in global  nourishment
  and world cultures

Creating picture motifs from stories and nature
Beeswax and plasticine modeling practiced both independently and within a group


Alternating 6-week blocks of German and  Spanish provide cultural exposure, develops memory, language, translative thinking and vocabulary skills

Crochet to strengthen the dominant hand, and work on a three-dimensional project such as a pouch, a hat or an animal hand puppet

- Beginning music literacy through story
- Singing in beautiful unison; gradually working
  toward singing in rounds
- Pentatonic flute & beginning diatonic recorder

- Gym focused on imaginative games that
  introduce organized physical play with rules
  and strategy
- Eurythmy work with rhythms, geometrical
  forms, specific gestures for the sounds of
  speech and simple ‘concentration’ exercises
  to develop presence of mind

- Angelic Organics Farm: Three day field trip in
  Caledonia Illinois at a biodynamic farm where
  the children care for the land and animals
- 3rd grade play: The children present a
  Hebrew story, recited in chorus with
  cosutmes, props and some specialized roles



  • Introduction to homework assignments through weekly spelling quizzes
  • Daily reading in groups, with partners or independently
  • Spelling and vocabulary development
  • Understanding basic sentence structure
  • Beginning library use and research protocol
  • Dictation practice
  • Learning cursive handwriting
  • Memorization of the multiplication tables
  • Daily practice with the four basic operations and multiplication tables