Class 4, when the child is 9-10 years old, is a time when activity and rhythm is of great importance to them. At this age the children are becoming less and less childish but they have not yet started puberty. Children of this age grow in confidence with regard to movement. They love doing somersaults, playing ball games and running until they are tired out. This self-motivated activity brings about a harmonising of the relationship between their breathing and their blood circulation.
The 10-year old child quickly loses any ‘puppy fat’ as they continue to grow and they often experience growing pains in their limbs. Their main lesson on Man and Animal, when a phenomenological study of the human being in relation to the animal kingdom is made, is enthusiastically received. A self-conscious child has the chance to ask questions; all the children take a keen interest in learning facts about our multi-faceted human nature as opposed to the one-sided nature of each animal species. They take great care in writing about this in their own words and illustrating their work.
Aims and Objectives
The teacher can achieve a calm working atmosphere in the classroom by introducing the children to alliteration: they stamp when they hear the alliterative words and that intentional movement, repeated rhythmically again and again in different settings (e.g. in the arithmetic lesson), works to focus the 10-year old. This rhythmic part of the main lesson is followed by a long quiet period of work in main lesson books; a lot of beautifully presented work can now be done, and is done. At this age the child needs movement and it is aimed to be included in every lesson, in a creative way. Each child is asked to do increasing amounts of written work as they are more focused during the main lesson for a longer period of time than in Class 3.
When singing and/or playing the recorder the children are asked to play in parts and even learn to sing quodlibets (i.e. two different songs that harmonise, sung at the same time.) This demands that they can focus on their part whilst listening to the other part as well. It requires an inner strength to do this; it is challenging and there is often delight on the faces of children as they achieve this and experience harmony that they themselves have created for the first time.
Highlights of the Year
Local geography is a highlight in Class 4 as well as the Man and Animal Main Lesson. To support the latter, a visit to a zoo is usually arranged and the children enjoy this very much. Local geography involves map making and acknowledgement of local industry and customs; a child may have a relation who is or was employed in a local industry. They could be invited into the classroom to talk about their experiences.
The stories taken from Norse Mythology are considered the highlight of Class 4. These myths illustrate how complicated relationships can affect and/or be effective according to the characterological disposition of the characters. In the Norse Myths a multiplicity of personalities contribute to the social Whole and the children identify ‘badness’ in contrast to the good deeds of the majority of those in the story.
Through this work it is intended that the children form an appreciation of where they are in both a social and in a geographical sense.