Fourth Graders Meet the World
with new capacities of thinking and feeling. The students wish to have experiences of self that are wider than the family. The curriculum addresses their need to move beyond themselves while cultivating a warm, human connection with the environment. For example, early science lessons introduce them to the animal kingdom in relation to the human being.
Geography lessons begin with a map of the classroom and expand outward to encompass the local community and countryside, and later to the whole of the United States. Students learn to ask, “What is it about the natural resources of this particular place that led human beings to settle here?”
Botany follows in fifth grade as they learn to observe the characteristics of various plants and the environmental conditions in which they thrive. Students observe, draw, and paint the unfolding phases of plant growth from root to leaf to flower. Hero stories from the great mythological traditions of the world form the thematic heart of the language arts curriculum. Students learn about ancient world culture through the literature and history of the peoples of Scandinavia, India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece.