From the myths of the ancient Egyptians, Indians and Persians to the written history of the ancient Greeks, fifth graders move from the stories of ancient peoples to the formal study of history. At the same time, fifth graders attain a certain ease and grace of physical movement intrinsic to their age. An awareness of self strengthens. The celebration of these unique abilities culminates in the fifth grade's participation in the Greek Olympiad, a glorious pentathlon event with other regional Waldorf schools.
Noreen Crowley was born in New York City and raised in the surrounding area. She earned her B.A. in Environmental Studies (summa cum laude) from St. John's University in Queens, NY Shortly after discovering Waldorf education in 1996 at the Waldorf School of Garden City, she relocated to Florida and taught math and science at a charter school. As the school expanded, Noreen envisioned and created a middle school program. However, her heart was still with Waldorf education. Hence, she pursued and received her Waldorf teaching certificate from Antioch New England Graduate School. After teaching at a developing Waldorf school in Florida, Noreen and her family relocated to Decatur to join a more established school community. Having recently graduated from Academe of the Oaks, her son is a thriving sophomore at Oglethorpe University, while her daughter is attending a master's program at Columbia University. Noreen enjoys the close proximity to the mountains and the opportunity for hiking and camping in Georgia.
Grade Five Pedagogical Overview
In the first four years of school there is a strong emphasis on form, both of the class as a whole, and of each child's habits. In the next four years, there is a subtle and gradual shift in emphasis toward content, in lessons and in the world at large. This shift in emphasis, of course, follows the child's own lead, responding to his or her changing consciousness. By age eleven, children reach a kind of balance and regular alternation between their awareness of the world and of their own inner lives. There is balance, too, in their mental, emotional, and physical growth.
The fifth grade curriculum seeks to extend the children both outwardly and inwardly. Outwardly, in terms of space, they expand their horizons of the earth and the plants that cover it. In terms of time, they experience five civilizations spanning thousands of years. Inwardly, they extend their awareness of the math processes they perform, and also of the words they speak and the sentences they write. As their intellectual faculties become stronger, students are able to approach their cognitive work in a more realistic and reasoning manner.
By the fifth grade, students have generally attained a certain ease and grace of physical movement intrinsic to their age. The celebration of their unique abilities at this time culminates in their participation in a Greek Olympiad, a pentathlon event with other regional Waldorf schools.