Noticeable physiological, psychological and cognitive changes take place in the child this year. The nine/ten year threshold represents a very significant step in self-awareness. Children realize they are separate from their surroundings and meet the world as individuals, often resulting in increased questions, self-doubt and wonder. Waldorf gives its third grade lessons a practical orientation. In math, they work with time, money, and measurement. In their main lesson, they study how people live and work. On campus, they plant flowers, take care of chickens, and stir the compost.
How do people live and work? In response to this question, the third grade curriculum explores indigenous peoples around the world and how they adapted to the local climate and natural resources to feed, clothe and house themselves. Capping this block, each third grader constructs a model dwelling – perhaps a treehouse, igloo, teepee, or adobe shelter – and presents a written report that summarizes their understanding of a native people.
In tandem with the further emphasis on practical arts, the third grade class takes a weeklong trip to a farm, where they cook their own meals and spend eye-opening days tending the crops and animals. The students see for themselves how the farmer and gardener learn to work with the forces of nature. This hands-on experience teaches what constitutes arable land and its need for both sunlight and moisture.
Music is an essential part the Waldorf curriculum. Beginning with the singing of songs that mark the rhythm of the day in kindergarten to learning to play the recorder in first grade, music is integrated into the program at all levels. Music enlivens the spirit. Recent brain research corroborates Steiner's original indications: music increases a child's capacity for learning and also contributes to a sense of completeness and connectedness.
Grade Three contains a particularly significant musical milestone for our students for it is at the beginning of this year that students select a sting instrument – typically either the violin or cello – which they will study both at school and privately throughout their Waldorf years.
Literature: Images of the Old Testament, its laws and guidance provide a sense of security.
English and Grammar: Spelling, composition, and grammar lessons are developed out of the student's own writing. Parts of speech, punctuation, and dictation are often introduced during this year. In addition, students learn cursive writing and begin to write independently. Speech work and recitation continue. Individual lines are spoken for the first time in the class play.
Geography: Practical studies include building, gardening, and farming. Dwellings from around the world are studied.
Science: An understanding of practical life is fostered through studies of farming, cooking, clothing, and other activities of human life.
Mathematics: Work with whole numbers, number patterns, column addition, and place value continue to be explored through situation problems and mental arithmetic. Children study linear, dry and liquid measurement as well as the properties of weight, money, and time. Carrying/borrowing and advanced application of basic operations continue. Multiplication tables are mastered.
Drawing, Painting, and Modeling: Students are exposed to more complicated running and mirrored forms as they continue to strengthen their spatial awareness. Colored pencils are introduced to provide opportunities for increased drawing detail. Themes for beeswax scenes emerge from the story content from Main Lesson.
2020-2021 Grade 3 Class Teacher: Ms. Stevens
More information about Waldorf Pedagogy is found under our Parent Resources page.