This is the midway point in the Class Teacher period and the seven-year cycle of the Middle Years – the ‘heart of childhood’.
- A harmonising of the relationship between blood circulation and breathing, brought about through the child’s self-directed activity
- Thinking and reasoning becomes more active, though the pictorial aspect is still strong
- More “grounded”, interested in the concrete world around them
- Questioning and criticising, especially about what is right and wrong
- Increasing awareness of their own individuality, questioning authority
- Contrast between their inner world and outer worlds develops further
- Often struggle with expressing their own individuality and that of peer pressure, and can form strong social groups that can lend itself to bullying or exclusion
- Energetic, keen for physical challenges and exploration
- Confident in their own abilities
- Looking outwards to the world with eagerness
- “Rubicon” crossing
Needs of this age:
- Challenge: lots of work; physical and mental challenges; exploration & inquiry.
- Healthy ways of channelling their energy and individual expression.
- A more independent way of working; new relationship to the class teacher.
- A new sense of externally imposed authority being supplemented with an inner authority, based on developing moral strength, courage and responsibility.
- A picture of the world showing more complexity, interdependence & relations between individuals, contrasts of the individual working against or for the community.
- Knowledge and understanding of the physical world, still brought imaginatively:
Steiner Curriculum themes to meet the needs of this age:
- Norse myths, such as the Icelandic epic Edda, the Finnish epic Kalevala – multiplicity of deities, good-natured challenging of the gods’ authority, a picture of a changing relationship to the spiritual world; themes of adventure, darkness and evil, courage overcoming adversity
- The Vikings – strength, courage, exploration of the world
- Aboriginal tales – multiplicity of divine influences, interdependence of human beings and animal and plant worlds
- Animals and their relationship to human beings, in a more concrete way than the fables of Class 2; the three-fold nature of animals
- Regional, state and national studies reflect the child’s expanding interest – geography and history, aboriginal cultures, multi-culturalism
- Map-making – transition from pictorial to conceptual symbolic representation
- Fractions: the relationship between whole and parts
- History of writing, calligraphy; children develop their own handwriting style
- Use of fountain pens
Class 4 Main Lessons
- History of Writing
- Grammar (tenses) Punctuation and Spelling
- Writing – Text types
- Introduction to Fractions
- Geometry and Space
- Number and Problem Solving
- Measurement and Area
- Human Being and Animal
- Aboriginal Culture and Lifestyle
- Australian Maritime Discovery
- Australian Continental Explorers – maps, atlases, physical geography, discovery and exploration
- Norse Myths/Viking Stories
- Story themes for the year of courage, adventure, heroes.
- More practical, objective approach to the world, though still engaging feeling
- Teaching needs to be lively with strong leadership
- Authority of class teacher becomes more subtle, allowing for independence, yet:
- Consistency of expectations, clear boundaries remains very important
- Children respond to and respect specialist knowledge brought by subject teachers
- Social skills development continues, with the theme of the individual working for the group
- Camps with more physical challenge