The 9-year-old child:
During Class 3 the child goes through the 9-year transformation, which is a significant step for the child’s growing consciousness and self-awareness. Essentially, they are waking up to the fact that they are separate and different to the rest of the world, and no longer a part of the whole. In a sense one could say they are experiencing “the fall from paradise” and now have to find ways to cope with living on the earth. This can be a challenging, confusing and traumatic time as the children experience intense feelings of doubt, fear and self-criticism and consciousness brought on by their growing self- awareness. The child begins to ask questions like: “Who am I?” and “Why am I different?” The realisation that they are separate enables them to look at the world in a different way which can lead to confusion and insecurity. This can be expressed through marked changes in behaviour and attitude. Questioning, doubt, aloneness and a tendency to criticise are features of behaviour at this time. For some this time is marked by dizziness, variable appetite, stomach/headaches, disturbed sleep and weariness.
The teacher’s task is to help children acquire a healthy balance between the inner and outer worlds and in bringing the child’s individuality into the right relationship to their own body and environment. This is the first time that children are really able to keep secrets as they wake up to the fact that there is a space inside them that cannot be seen by others. The curriculum for Class 3 is centred on this transformation. It is a fun, active and busy year for the children as they learn to actively participate in earthly life.
The 10-year-old child:
Following this transformation, children have a stronger sense of their individuality and it is time to help them really learn to be comfortable with who they are. The overarching question now becomes: “Where do I fit in?” At this age, they are now greater able to view the world around them objectively and encounter the environment with greater capacities of thinking and feeling. As such History and Geography are introduced. Both of these subjects begin where the child is and then over the years we slowly take them further and further outward. In this time we can see the beginning of the transformation from imagination to objectivity and more detailed observation.
This is the year that fractions are introduced as the children can now better comprehend the breaking up of a whole into its parts. This is the time to help children learn to find a calm space inside so that they can live from that space. For this reason many activities are introduced which require greater focus, concentration and balance. This is a good year to introduce circus games e.g. juggling, walking on a line above the ground etc. to get the children to go into themselves. This is the time to help children know who they are through looking at family traditions, local traditions and involving them in many projects and activities which challenge them to think more deeply and ask more questions.
These stories speak strongly to the 10 year old child. The gods of Asgard are portrayed as individuals with distinct, powerful personalities who encounter significant consequences for both their good and bad behaviour. The vivid images evoked in these stories provide ample inspiration for the expanded creative and expository writing skills required of the child at this grade. The strong alliterations of their verses strengthen the ten year old child’s clarity and dexterity of speech, and reinforces their developing confidence.
Farming and Gardening
This Main Lesson Block is focused on showing the children the fruits of the earth and the wonder of nature. How the earth serves us and is able to give us what we need if we learn how to use and work the soil. This is extended during our class Farm Outing where the children get to experience life on a working farm. We will not only learn how foods are grown, but also how they are processed.
Place value will be extended into the thousands including concepts of borrowing and carrying. We will work to solidify these concepts and put them to work in all four operations. We will also continue our work with the multiplication tables. We will strongly focus on developing their mental math skills and problem solving abilities. Measurement will be extended to include calculations and conversions between different units. Volume, capacity and weight will be explored. Fractions will be introduced towards the end of the year.
We will continue to strengthen and develop math language, comprehension, vocabulary through speech.
Factors, estimation, rounding numbers, word problems.
3 key areas of focus:
This main lesson helps children further explore the gifts the earth gives us. We will look at various fibres/textiles we get from nature and how man has transformed these to be useful fabrics, practical in day life especially in clothing and for use in house building. We will focus on what is available to us here in Guatemala.
A first introduction to Geography, starting where the children spend most of their time: home and school. Children will learn the 4 Cardinal points (North, South, East, West) They will be challenged to draw the first maps from a birds-eye view. They will learn to draw their route to school and as such be able to have greater awareness of the world around them. This lesson will be combined with family traditions, family tree etc. as we help the children to feel confident in where and who they are. The goal of the geography curriculum is to engender an understanding of the interrelatedness of human activity and the local physical conditions of the earth.
Animal study is introduced growing out of a descriptive study of the human being and our place in nature. The child develops an understanding and appreciation of the animal kingdom as it reflects the environment to which each species has adapted. Through detailed study of the forms and habitats of animals, the children begin to get a feeling for the fascinating assortment of skills and qualities that the animals possess. At the same time, the children begin to see the unique and responsible position they hold as human beings upon the earth.
This detailed study offers opportunities for the child to develop his/her comparative, conceptual, and observational skills, and it provides additional material for artistic, dramatic, and language arts activities.
An extension of geography as we explore the wonders of the City we live in. This Main Lesson also serves as an introduction to History as we will explore the local history mainly through biographies of those who lived here before us.
This year, the big step for the class will be working with forms that meet and cross each other, to create a new form out of their intermingling. We will also work with forms within a circle, lemniscate forms and transformations of straight lines into curves. Towards the later part of the year we will start drawing Celtic knots where the children learn to give forms a more 3D appearance.
The stories from the Old Testament form the backbone of the year. These stories provide archetypal images which help the children through the transformation on a soul level. The laws, guidelines, guidance, struggles of the Israelites and stories of the characters chosen by God foster inner security during this unsettling period. In these stories the children encounter a Higher power that can be relied on. These stories will be told until the later part of the year.
Theses stories speak to the children in a deep way as they are filled with archetypal pictures which mirror what the children are going through at this time. These will also be of great benefit to the older children of the class who are also dealing with this transformation in themselves.
I would like to be very clear and say that this is in no way religious education or something like Sunday school. These stories are told as all the other stories throughout the year are told.
Written by Rène Petersen, grades teacher