Grade Five is referred to as the “golden year” because students at this age are enthusiastic about learning, eager for new challenges, and capable of hard work and creativity.
Most students have good learning habits and are able to begin more detailed independent work. The language and history curriculum lets students explore ancients civilizations including India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece. Students hear the mythologies of these cultures and discuss their philosophies of creation, life and death, and religion. This year marks the change from prehistory and mythic representations to formal Western History (classical Greece).
Through study of the ancient Greeks, students develop an appreciation for the balance between skill and beauty, art and science, earthly life and spirituality. In the spring, students participate in a five-event Greek Olympiad with Grade Five students from other Waldorf schools, allowing them to test their skills in a celebratory environment.
Geography is viewed in terms of how it influenced civilizations’ world views and connections to other cultures of the time. Working with early forms of writing, geometry, and architecture, students experience some of the roots of modern culture.
Botany is also introduced, bringing in concepts of the balance between beauty and nature, awareness of the natural world, and the connection between scientific observation and appreciation of beauty.