In Waldorf Education, the Fifth grade is viewed as a year of balance and harmony. It is often referred to as the golden age of childhood. The child’s body is in close to perfect proportion, before the exaggerated and occasionally awkward growth of the early teen years begins. Their movements gain much greater fluidity and balance and their breathing rhythm gets to a more balanced rate. It is a time when the imaginative and carefree state that is childhood begins to blend with the increasing sense of independence, critical thinking, and self- awareness of adolescence.
In Fifth grade, students use their new capacity for critical thinking as they study Botany, the geography of their country they live in, and ancient Western civilizations including India, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia and Greece. They learn about the cultural development of these civilizations through their myths, religious beliefs and social achievements. The students also become familiar with the geography of these areas, as they draw their own maps, and learn about the major landforms and climates.
In Fifth grade mathematics, the students become proficient at manipulating fractions and mixed numbers utilizing all four processes, and decimals are introduced. An emphasis is placed on solving story problems which require multiple steps and processes. Statistics is used as a tool to sort, display and interpret information. Students explore geometry and also learn to draw complex and intersecting geometrical forms by hand.
Fifth grade students are led to write their own compositions that are descriptive, analytical or reflective, through poetry, stories, reports, business and friendly letters, and summaries of their main lesson studies.
In their Fifth grade year, students continue to play the soprano recorder and learn how to read musical notation. Fifth grade students sing in parts and harmonies. They also paint, draw and model as part of their artistic education. They continue knitting in hand work but now with more complexity.
A big theme of Fifth grade is the Greek Games, when if possible, students join other Fifth grade Waldorf students from the surrounding area for two days, to compete in javelin, relays, wrestling, running and long jump. In addition to learning these skills, students in Fifth grade begin to play team sports.
The Fifth grade curriculum offers the children many opportunities to challenge themselves and to interact with the natural world in a more conscious way. Botany, Geography, History, Geometry, the languages and Arts, all help the children to become more aware of themselves, of the surroundings, of the past and the present in a respectful and beautiful way so they become more independent and connected to their thinking, feeling and become gradually more responsible for their future actions.