The newly emerging individuality of 12-year-old children can be chaotic at times, but yearns to find a place within the world that is unique and recognised by the adults and classmates around them.

Sixth-graders long for independence and their social relationships with peers become more important allowing for solid friendships to be formed. The children start to develop a sense for ‘cause and effect’ and expect straightforward answers to their questions. This is a year of dramatic physical, social, and emotional growth as the children hit a growth spurt, and the beautiful balance, poise and grace of the previous year is challenged by the lengthening of the limbs and awkward movements. Hormones become active and big changes start to happen in their bodies leading to sporadic emotional turbulence.

The children begin to see the result of their actions and develop systematic, logical thinking. The themes explored over the course of the Grade 6 year are chosen expressly to assist with both the inner and outer questioning of the child.

History has cause and effect

History allows the children to grasp the significance of cause and effect in the rise and fall of the Roman Empire and its effect on European civilisation to the Middle Ages. This forms the main theme for the year and the children quickly become immersed in the Romans’ spirit of conquest, and their civilisation’s ability to dominate and transform the physical world with roads, buildings, and aqueducts.

The business of English writing

In English, the children continue to grapple with grammar as more grammatical expressions are introduced, allowing for a wider analysis of the sentence. More transactional writing pieces are presented to the class, and the children learn the skills needed to write essays, business letters and short reports.

Preparing for abstract mathematics

Mathematics introduces the children to financial mathematics where they can experience the relationship between fractions, decimals and percentages. Geometry forms become more intricate and shading with colour allows the children to bring out the beauty and form in each design. The five basic constructions are taught, which prepares them for the more abstract geometry of the higher grades.

The science of life within and without

Science in Waldorf schools is taught in a dynamic, interactive and experiential way, which prompts children to develop observational skills, critical thinking and sound judgment. The science curriculum includes both geology and physics. As the children study mineralogy, the formation of rocks and crystals is a point of awe and wonder that reflects the beautiful process of bone formation taking place in their own bodies. In physics, they focus on observation (rather than assumption), allowing the observations to reveal the natural, lawful ordering of the phenomena. Physics include acoustics, optics, colour studies, and magnetism.

The art of nature, captured

Painting and drawing lessons start to hold a new meaning as the children discover colour through their science experiments. Using the colour wheel new colours are mixed and formed allowing sunrises, sunsets and landscapes to develop. Shadows allow the concept of light and dark to be taught and observation skills improve as they learn to draw what they can see.

Crafts and handwork activities encourage the children to sew stuffed animals, dabble in origami-folded stars and build a clay Roman aqueductin scale that, when completed, is able to transport water from point A to point B.

In addition to all the new learning areas that are taught in this crucial year, the teacher aims to create social harmony within the classroom where each child learns to take responsibility for contributing to build a harmonious class community. It is important during this year that the child’s connection to the world is renewed and strengthened, and social relationships grow to be healthy and respectful.

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