In These Years,
the children’s still vigorous forces of imitation and delight in learning are employed to their fullest. The creation of a rich language environment draws the students forward to mastery of reading and writing skills. In early lessons the vitality of language is preserved through the recitation of playful verses and masterful poetry. Writing down well-loved stories addresses the students’ need to be active in the learning process. Consequently, reading follows naturally when the content is already intimately connected to the students. Learning is less stressful, and all levels of literacy are addressed.
Movement and math go hand in hand as students step and clap rhythmically through the times tables. Numbers likewise begin with the children’s immediate experience and are made concrete by counting shells or beans kept in a special hand-made pouch.
Knitting and flute playing develop dexterity in head and hand. Exposure to the contrasting sounds of German and Spanish develops inner flexibility, setting the tone for later interest in and appreciation for other cultures and peoples.
In third grade, children begin to separate themselves from their environment and begin to look more critically and consciously at their environment. Practical skills, such as farming, house building and measurement, are studied; and students trace everyday materials to their origins. At this time, carefully chosen stories provide reassurance and support for the inner stages of growth.