The ten-year-old child greets the world with a fresh face: not a young child and yet not in puberty, they sense the world as far outside of themselves. Feeling alternately separate, curious, resistant, the child craves steadfastness and security. Challenges appear; the fourth grader is not always eager to confront them. They delight in new adventures and the social element of the class.
Children become aware of their own space, feeling more connected to the world around them.
The 4th grade curriculum presents external conflicts and inner battles through Norse myths and Virginia history, along with reassuring, inspiring pictures of the animal world and local geography. Stories of the Norse gods rivet: other gods repeatedly challenge Odin. The children observe that giants’ defined personalities may mirror their own: there are short-tempered, crafty, clever and quiet ones. Havoc ensues in the wild Norse world yet its story endings satisfy: one crosses over the bridge away from a restless state of being.
In the human & animal block, children study anatomy, human balance, and tool-making capacities. Geography starts locally: the classroom, the school, Charlottesville, then Virginia. Children become aware of their own space, feeling more connected to the world around them. Local history suggests how environment once determined lifestyle; the relationship between land and people takes different forms over time. Students draw maps and use a compass. Jamestown and early settler stories color our state. Past and present fill the 4th grader with a rich sense of humanity and meaning. In painting, students explore contrasting color and form.
In Language Arts, the students write simple narrations of their own experiences. Through the three Norse muses, children discover past, present, and future tenses as useful tools. Parts of speech allow expression in different situations and times, just when children seek to explain more. Punctuation and grammar refine their voices.
In freehand geometry, children untangle a complicated, beautiful form. In math, separation into new forms and smaller pieces drive the study of fractions.
4th graders regularly sing and play the recorder in two-part rounds. Individuals hold their own parts while simultaneously hearing different parts in harmonious song. In Orchestra, violinists, violists, cellists, and bassists bring together distinct musical parts to make a whole. Each student practices at home, forming a relationship with their instrument. In Spanish, students speak in sentences, delving further into the language mechanics. Movement brings the class together as a whole: the 4th grade student has new vitality and inner strength, eagerly expressed in games. Ball games are introduced, building hand-eye coordination. In Handwork, students cross stitch an exquisite book bag. A free color mirrored design, this creative process engages both left and right sides of the brain. In Woodworking, children might carve a wooden animal figurine, an oven pull.