This age is a changing time, where the 12-year old can experience what Martyn Rawson describes as ‘the death of childhood, with the birth-pangs of the individual’.
Children experience stronger orientation to the outer world and seek to find their place in it. A hunger to understand the world around them based on phenomena and tangible facts is the driving force behind explorations of the word at large. The gradual shift in geographical studies throughout the primary years finally culminates in in a global perspective in class six.
In History the children leave the dynamic age of Greek times and move to the time of the Romans as part of which structural forms, debating and political structures are studied. A developing ability to see cause and effect is at the base of growing scientific inquiry that is still phenomenological and imaginative.
Physically the striving towards uprightness and balance is significant during this rapid phase of growth. The play element employed in some lessons gives way to order and structure in exercises. At a time where the students are feeling uncomfortable and unsure in their bodies, and can tend to be lethargic, learning experiences are offered where the students are engaged through physical activity.
Emotionally there is a growing sense of self that can be paired with an increasing tendency to question and challenge. Being self-conscious of bodily changes can be emotionally challenging.
Cognitively this age group is developing new faculties of intellectual thought and growing confidence in causative thinking. It is still too early though for the too formal development of deductive thinking and the analytical-critical function.
Socially, students at twelve years of age begin to understand the concept of causality in connection with their behaviour. They can increasingly take responsibility for their actions by considering the implications and consequences of rules in the home, classroom and society. Increased student interest in the world is extended to include ecological awareness and respect for different cultures.
Needs of this age:
The expansion into the world of science and history captures the interest of this age group. The children are ready for a deepening of intellectual, moral and social challenges. The thirst for knowledge of a wider world, chronologically, geographically and culturally is met through an imaginative and phenomenological approach to scientific subjects, explorations of the development of self-governing societies and leadership programs.
They explore ways to increased independence while securely anchored in a picture of the world that shows goodness, truth and beauty. Strong personal role models, biographies and examples of people overcoming obstacles and bringing goodness into the world all provide pictures and guidance for their increasing break away from outer authority and towards an inner moral compass.
Class 6 Curriculum – themes to meet the needs of this age:
Main Lessons start to cover sequential, recorded history to meet the child’s new capacity for causative thinking. The main themes all provide an appreciation for structure and order, whether it be in society, geology, or grammar. They also focus on bringing a strong connection with the larger world they are starting to experience, and what is right in that world, so that students will learn to work in service for the sake of the world.
Ancient Rome – aspects of Roman culture – provides a picture of a civilisation developing its own governance and laws, having gained ‘independence from the gods’. The sense of order of the Roman world particularly addresses the Class 6 child – the sense of justice and law, Roman architecture and engineering.
Physics is introduced, with an emphasis on an experiential and phenomenological approach: dynamics of cause and effect are investigated in acoustics, optics, heat, magnetism, electricity.
Astronomy – including the rhythms of the cosmos, their effect on weather, seasons, tides, animals, plants and the human being – expands the scientific explorations from the directly observable phenomenon to a more abstract science.
The Birthing Main Lesson provides the opportunity for students to explore their own birth story from conception to birth and beyond and so learn about their own sexual development in a personal context. This main lesson is co-taught by a mid-wife and the class teacher.