The fifth-grade year is often spoken of as “the golden year."
This title has been given it because of the wonderful place that fifth-grade children, eleven-year-olds, mature to. They are more balanced and poised in themselves than they have ever been before and than they will be again until the completion of the coming years of puberty and its rapid intellectual development.
Fifth graders are physically balanced. Usually able to run and jump easily, they are well proportioned and know their bodies, making them graceful and capable. They have left the roundness and lack of coordination of the young child behind and have not yet begun to grow so quickly in size and strength that their bodies are a continual surprise to them.
Intellectually, fifth graders have a greatly increased capacity for examination, thought and reflection. Their actions are much more planned and considered than in previous years, and their minds can take on a depth and breadth of study previously impossible. The fifth-grade year encompasses a wider scope of study than any previous grade. The children are growing in their intellectual capacities, and the curriculum meets this expansion with the study of ancient cultures, both mythic and historic, from ancient India to classical Greece. Their work reflects this new depth to their understanding and questioning.
The fifth grader also shows a great deal more balance socially and emotionally. A fifth-grade class is usually a harmonious group, with sincere attempts to compromise and apologize being made by all children involved in an argument or dispute. By the end of year, the divisions between boys and girls and among social groupings are diminishing, leading to a smooth and comfortable classroom environment. Fifth graders are also much more capable, taking on more challenging classroom cleaning, chores and work than in previous times.
Fifth Grade Curriculum
Rhythm of the Day
Each day begins with Main Lesson. The main subjects, such as history, language arts, science and mathematics are taught in blocks of 2 hours per day, with each block lasting from 3 to 6 or even 8 weeks long.
Depending on the teacher, the fifth grade still begins with a circle time, a time of movement filled with songs, rhymes, mental math and other exercises to prepare the child for the Main Lesson work.
After Main Lesson the children have a hearty snack (brought from home) and time to play outdoors.
The afternoon consists of subject classes including handwork, movement, french, music and art, as well as lunch (brought from home) and more time to play outdoors.