At this age, in Class 5, the child attains a certain ease and grace of movement intrinsic to the age. Movement that is co-ordinated, balanced and harmonious is a key- note of this development phase. Psychologically, the ‘I’ world differentiation develops, the individual ‘will’ element begins to grow, the awareness of ‘self’ strengthens and socially, a powerful group dynamic can surface with a class, although the individual ego is very much a fledgling. Cognitively, children are more able to understand questions and phenomena in a realistic and reasoning manner. This age is a time of rapidly flowering capacities. In the basic skills of numeracy, literacy and linguistics pupils exhibit the emergence of independent creativity founded on a confident group of the basic rules, processes and structures.
Intellectually and morally the child is ready for new challenges. Foundations for the basic skills in numeracy and literacy have been set down by the tenth year. Elementary notions of personal responsibility and a faculty for understanding ‘right and wrong’ in a ‘reasoning’ spirit may be grasped from this age. This year marks the pivotal point between childhood and puberty and for a short moment each child is poised at a crest of the wave, marking the end of the first part of their school years. They reach standards of work hitherto never dreamed of. They identify totally with their work and spend time embellishing it, bringing it closer to perfection. They are often proud of their work, whereas in Class 4 they could easily be dismissive about it.
Towards the end of this year the teacher will begin to experience their pupils’ emergent critical faculties, ready to be used more consciously. They bring with them a new detachment and their accompanying critical standpoint. The harmony is lost, to be found again at the end of the Upper School years.
Aims and Objectives
In this year the aim is to make the transition from myth to history and its emphasis on the individual. The children should develop a greater consciousness of the inter-relatedness of life and environment- particularly through the study of botany and strengthen their memory by learning vocabulary and verse and visualising spaces through the use of maps. There will be a greater emphasis on the original Olympian ideal in which group distinctions are subservient to the greater whole and in which qualities such as determination and courage are as valued as speed and distance. The class trip to the annual UK Waldorf Olympic festival held at Michael Hall school in Forest Row is a highlight of the year, with the class camping and cooking together and becoming a part of a Greek ‘city state’ for three days competing in eight different Olympic events.