When the children enter Class 5 they move into the heart of childhood, also known as the golden age of childhood. Physically they have reached a balanced and harmonious proportion, allowing them to perform all physical tasks with grace and ease. In this golden age, their awareness of ‘self’ develops and from their inner golden throne they view the world around them with keen interest.
This year the curriculum meets their inner development by showing them the balance, harmony, beauty and grace that is expressed in the outer world. One of the main themes for the year is ancient histories, leading up to ancient Greece. This journey through the ages is like a recapitulation of the children’s own inner journey, and the arrival in Ancient Greece brings them to where they are this year. The Ancient Greek stories are filled with many of the human endeavours that the children are now beginning to explore: overcoming difficulties in the world without too much help from the gods (or parents or teachers), a sense of standing on your own two feet – come what may, and a striving to be fair, honourable and just in all aspects of life. Though they may seem like lofty ideals, to the Class 5 children they become very alive and of great importance.
Other themes include local Geography, where the children begin to explore South Africa and all its different provinces. This gives the children the feeling that they are knowledgeable about their world and their home, and they develop enthusiasm for their country and all its many wonders. Plant Studies show the children how the plant is balanced between earth and sky, poised and graceful, striving towards the sun; an image of themselves in a way.
In Mathematics the children are introduced to decimal fractions and continue to build on and develop all the other concepts that they have already learned. The English syllabus is supported by the many historical themes that we cover in this year and in particular the children are ready to develop their creative writing skills. Direct and indirect speech is introduced, and all parts of speech are worked with.