By around the age of 9, most children start to have a profound experience of “Here I am and there is the world, separate from me”. This sudden loss of unity with the world asks of the Class 3 curriculum to be balanced in a way that it strengthens and enriches the child’s inner life as well as builds a positive relationship with the outer world. The main theme for the year follows the Biblical Old Testament stories.
The child is taken on a journey through the Bible which starts with Adam and Eve and how they were cast out of paradise. While this might be a scary and disappointing start, they very quickly meet many other heroic and resilient people and cultures that must improve their skills to survive. Through the year the child will be exposed to these skills as well and, like the men and women in the biblical times, they too will learn to work with their hands through gardening, building, weaving and farming.
Literacy fostered through story writing
Literacy continues to strengthen all the basic alphabetical skills learned in the previous two years. Phonics and spelling are practised regularly, and they allow the child to improve their reading skills. Grammar is introduced this year and in class they learn about nouns (naming words), verbs (doing words), adjectives and adverbs (describing words). These new skills will allow each child to start writing longer sentences, which will in turn become short paragraphs and stories.
Maths of old and maths of new
It is an exciting year in maths. The basic foundations, such as the tables and the four processes, are practised and improved upon. The child starts to work with bigger numbers which introduces new methods to work out sums. Time and measurement are introduced, and while learning how these methods played a role in the biblical times, the child is exposed to the ways we use them in our modern society. Money is always a fun activity to learn and with it comes the skill of buying, selling and bartering.
Handwork through home building
Practical activities dominate the Class 3 curriculum. Housebuilding allows them not only to learn about different types of houses and cultures, but enables them to use the measuring skills picked up in maths to build a structure. Previous Class 3 children built benches to create a cozy reading area which can also be used for birthday celebrations amongst the trees.
Technology: where nature and modernity meet
From “fibre to fabric” becomes the central theme in the technology main lesson cycle block. The child learns about the processes that are used to create the products we use daily, such as the food we eat and the clothes we wear. Our children are fortunate to attend a school on a working farm, and sometimes help when a big project requires many hands.
Crafts allow for a few more ancient skills to be learned. The child is exposed to crocheting and creates hand gloves, a beanie, a purse or such items. The art of weaving makes its way into the classroom and beautiful objects are made both with paper and fabric.
Art and Afrikaans
Painting, drawing, music and Afrikaans continue in the class, just with more detail and practice. Longer songs that require more finger dexterity to play the notes are taught on the recorder, and painting and drawing become more realistic and detailed. Afrikaans still contains many poems and verses which are recited, and the children will now start to write down work in their Afrikaans workbooks and read from that.
With all the work done in this year the child is met with activities that not only engage their minds and thought processes; but offer a more personal experience of feeling while stimulating a desire to use their new-found skills in the real world around them.