Class 4 children start to become independent as they near the nine-year change. They begin to understand similarities and differences. Class 4 students are on the threshold of inferential thinking. They are now able to meet the world with new capacities of thinking and feeling.
Class 4 Themes
The students in Class 4 are now able to truly experience the world beyond their immediate families. The curriculum addresses the students' growing need to move beyond themselves. Now is the perfect time for students to connect with the environment. Subjects like local and regional geography are taught. Geography lessons may begin with a map of the classroom, with subsequent lessons expanding to the larger community and local regions. The culture and ancient living of First Nations Peoples, and the myths and legends of the Norse people, all give the students a better understanding of how people are able to adapt to and change their environment.
Animals too are a part of the wider world, and in Class 4 science lessons introduce the students to the animal kingdom in relation to the human being.
Fractions are introduced to students in Class 4. Through fractions, the students learn that what were once seemingly whole numbers can be divided into countless parts. Yet, the same rules underlying this breaking apart will also bring these numbers back together.
Grammar as a formal subject begins in Class 4. All parts of speech are studied. Elementary patterns of our language are introduced. Students learn through the division of a sentence, as well as the division of numbers, as in fractions, that the whole is made up of many parts that can be manipulated.
Students in Class 4 study the differences between light and dark colors, and how layers of color change the mood or feeling of a composition. Students take a more in-depth look at the animal form in painting, drawing, and sculpture.
Student practice drawing inter-woven and braided forms. Much emphasis is placed on the study of patterns, which in turn helps develop students' arithmetic skills. It is in Class 4 that Celtic knots are practiced, which help students develop their abilities for painting, woodwork, and handwork.
In Classes 4-5, the French curriculum becomes more practical in nature. The themes often mirror the themes of the Main Lesson. Children now learn conversational French, both casual and formal. There is some writing, but only the very beginning of grammar rules.
Students in Class 4 learn to cross-stitch. Cross-stitching helps the children to become precise and to strengthen their individuality. Once the cross-stitch is learned, students learn new stitches and techniques such as pinning, needle threading, knot tying, measuring, basting, whip stitching, and the running-back stitch.
In Class 4, students continue to sing rounds. They are now proficient in this skill, and can gradually learn to sing more complicated rounds. Songs from Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland support the curriculum of the Norse Myths. The skill of reading music continues to be taught, and is supported by weekly home practice. In Class 4, time values of the notes is the focus, which is strongly supported by the math curriculum, where the students learn about fractions.
As students begin to separate from the group and grow as individuals, their ability to participate in team and individual sports also increases. More emphasis is now placed on individual performance than in years past.