GRADE FOUR: Hovering Between Heaven and Earth!
(insight courtesy of mrs marsha johnson, waldorf home educators)
"The delightful nine year old, going on ten, is a beautiful creature in the classroom: eager, able, clever, sweet, helpful, and yet protected from the surges and tides of hormones soon to capture the physical body. Freed from the burden of the 9th year change, or nearly so, the child experiences the true joy of being free in the beautiful paradise outside the Garden of Eden, the freedom of choice we are gifted with, the sense of steering our own ship, thinking inside our own heads, and feeling deeply a great love for the world and all it holds!
The nine year old still bounces, barely on the earth, still dreams and sleeps like a young child, laughs easily, and really enjoys horrible jokes and puns. Wonder and awe shape the nine year old’s view of the world, and events or objects are often magnified in the retelling……..it was so HUGE………big as a car! Yes, really, that spider was ENORMOUS…….and so on. Fears still lurk around the edges of this stage of childhood: fears of the dark, of certain places, and the imagination is so strong that often it stirs up the emotions. The 9 year old wants to have a best friend, to spend the night, to stay up and sleep outside, take small risks, and inside, consider them to be risky adventures.
In the curriculum, we find the question, held within the secure arms of parents, family, teachers, and coaches: where shall I be allowed to go, and what shall I be allowed to do there? Tell me the boundaries and then watch me explore! Always, as in the other first 3 grades, we keep the teaching to the personal point of view of the child, from her perspective, what she sees, what he can experience, and expand from there……..the delicious Norse Myths provide rich ground for exploring personality characteristics: so strong in mostly single types! The child can ‘try on’ these traits as we study the 12 gods and goddesses of this beautiful golden world. It is the time before Adam and Eve have left the garden of Eden, in that interval of the spirit soul seeking and enjoying paradise, of the beings who also live there, and a story of a journey towards the doomful day of the ending times: Ragnarok. The Myths begin with the ending and never look back, but leave us longing for those golden halls and simple days."