The Class 6 child is at their peak of observation for the outer world. They are balanced in their outside world of authority and order.
Class 6 Themes
The grade six student’s capacity for critical thinking and reasoning and thrives on exploring the way the world works through experimentation and the close observation of nature. The daily developed artistic skills in painting, drawing, singing and drama of the early years have an opportunity to flourish in the study of the arts from Greece, Rome and the Middle Ages.
The twelve year old is at an exciting juncture in their life. The loving guidance of the adults in their lives needs to begin to make room for the child’s own emerging like, dislikes, talents and interests. The students strive to stand on their own feet and embrace the world with their new capacities of thinking and perception. The Waldorf Sixth Grade curriculum meets the emotional and physical changes of the adolescent with a study of the Roman Empire and the internal and external forces that caused its fall. The students learn about the Roman Empire great feats of oratory and debating, organization, engineering, philosophy, religion, and law. Students also learn of the changes that occurred in European society that led to the Middle Ages. The Class 6 students delve into primary sourced recorded history. Through biographies of famous individuals, told as a story by the class teacher, history comes alive.
Students in Class 6 study the tangible physical world in greater detail in the science blocks of Mineralogy, Astronomy, and Physics. Students learn through inquiry and observation. They are taught in a way that allows them to discover for themselves what is true in the world, instead of being given the predetermined laws. The students investigate with simple tools and their own power of observation. Their experiments, their analysis, and their conclusions are presented in their Main Lesson books which they have written and drawn themselves.
As the vocabulary and sentence structure of Class 6 students continues to expand, so does their ability to take on new forms of writing. Practical writing, such as business letters and other forms of expository writing, begin to take shape. Class 6 students take on more ownership for their individual work, not only in composition, but also in the proofing and editing of their drafts and final work.
In Mathematics, the new subject of Geometry is introduced. What began as Form Drawing and progressed to freehand Geometry in the previous classes now takes on a new form. Instruments, rulers, compasses, and protractors are used to measure and create complex geometrical forms. The precision and accuracy, along with the lawfulness of Geometry challenges the increasing eye-hand coordination of the 12 year old. Students also begin the study of Business Math, in which they learn the principles of banking and retail. With their newly acquired understanding of percentages comes the ideas of ratios, proportions, exponents, and an introduction to algebra.
The development of the interplay of light and dark is a main theme in Grade 6. The visual arts have the support of the students’ exploration of Optics in the Physics Main Lesson of how colour arises from the interaction of light and darkness. The students begin to understand how the illusion of depth is created through the use of highlight and shadow first in their charcoal drawings and later in their coloured drawings and paintings. These skills begin to satisfy the adolescents’ need to create drawings that look like “real life”.
In Classes 6 and 7, speaking, reading, and writing are now practiced in a more formal way. The rules of grammar and pronunciation are learned. This is a perfect time to ask students to practice writing their own small skits, which they enjoy performing for their peers.
Class 6 students create three-dimensional projects. The students are familiarized with the initial steps of using careful and correct pattern layout, pinning, and cutting. Often the first project is to sew an animal out of felt, with gussets to make it three-dimensional. As a second project, many students design and draft a pattern for their own magical beasts. After Christmas, all students begin making their own dolls.
In Class 6, students are ready to sing in three-part, and later even four-part, harmony. Students take on the Alto or Tenor recorder in earnest, and the class now plays all recorder pieces in three-part harmony. The Class 6 curriculum is supported by early Latin music: chants, rounds, and three-part early church music. More complicated rhythms and the understanding of minor and major keys are introduced, and weekly home practice continues as a support to the building of the students’ skills.
The students in Class 6 continue to develop their skills in team and individual sports, and in movement exercises. The emphasis in activities is on their control, coordination, and self-evaluation of their physical development.
The students in Class 6 will participate in a two night trip hiking to Kokanee Glacier, a day trip to Cody Caves, and a year-end 90km bike trip.