Thoughts on the Fourth Grade
We have two words of advice to help you make your year memorable: Field trips! The year’s focus on local/state geography and history and zoology (human being and animal) offers a plethora of opportunities to bring the curriculum to life. We must have gone on at least seven field trips (some local, others overnighters) during the year...and in our 8th grade strolls down “memory lane,” the students remembered each one in glorious detail.
How are a sea otter and a violin similar? Just ask a Waldorf fourth grader! When some of our fourth graders were "petting" the sample sea otter fur at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the docent asked if they knew why they were to only use the back of their hand when stroking the fur. One student spoke up and said, "Because our palms and fingers have oil on them. We know that because we play the violin and you're not supposed to touch the bow strings with your fingers." The docent was very impressed and wanted to know where they went to school. When she heard the answer, her comment was, “Ah, Waldorf, I should have known!”
In first through third grades the sole academic focus is on the development of the fundamental math and literacy skills that underlie all future learning. Fourth grade is the time where students begin to study subjects such as science, history, and geography. These lessons provide the students with the opportunity to learn about and engage in the world around them.