I look into the world
In which the sun is shining
In which the stars are sparkling
In which the stones repose

The living plants are growing
The feeling beasts are living
And human beings en-souled
Give dwelling to the spirit

I look into my soul
That lives within my being
God's spirit lives and weaves
In sunlight and in soul light
In heights of worlds without
In depths of soul within

To thee, o spirit of God,
I now turn to ask
That blessing and that strength
For learning and for work
In me may live and grow.

 

GRACE!

The fifth grade year is known to be one of balance and harmony. Now on the other side of the nine year change and not yet in the throws of puberty, the child is at a golden height in their childhood. Equipped with a more enhanced consciousness, the students are now accustomed to standing alone and seeing the world with a new perspective. Where history was more pictorial and personal last year, this year they learn through stories of mankind’s deeds and strivings. There is an inner stirring that allows the child to relate her own humanness through this experience. She is led further and further into the world through the study of geography, yet brought in toward herself through the history of the ancient peoples of India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt and finally Greece. She is led through more creation stories and mythologies, exposed to more of the world’s cultures, ending the year with Greek history. It is here in Greece, where harmony and balance are prized, that ancient history ends.

ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS

The gestures of each of these cultures can be captured through the student’s artwork. The gesture of the ancient Indian is a dreaminess. In Persia, we see an impulse for transformation of the earth and for conquering the spirit of darkness. The cultures of Mesopotamia begin to express themselves with written language, and the Egyptians with their tremendous adaptability in the Nile River Valley. They were driven to achievement leaving a lasting legacy in the construction of monumental pyramids, the field of mathematics, agricultural techniques and medicine to name only a few. Finally, with ancient Greek history, the student comes to find herself at home, in harmony and balance with herself.

Below is the creation story of Gaea, the earth, and Uranus, the sky, as they meet and fall in love. It is left to the students to add more detail to the picture from their recollection of the story. The drawing may be adorned with more trees, plants, or flowers as the children see fit.

Greek Mythology - Gaea and Uranus

 

BOTANY

New to this year is the study of the plant kingdom. In their botany lessons, the fifth graders discover the secrets and potential hidden within the seed  -  something they can relate to on an unconscious level. The inner burning and desire to grow out into the world are something the child can understand in the seed’s potential. Being freed up from the physical realm, the child has a special relationship with the plant kingdom where her astral forces are at work. Steiner (1997) proposes that once again we relate to the plant world through its relationship to the human being.

The plant has something like an instinctive longing for the sun. The blossoms turn toward the sun even before it has risen. Point out the difference between the life of desire in animals and people, and the pure effort of the plant to turn toward the sun. Then give the children a clear idea of how the plant exists between sun and earth. At every opportunity mention the relation of the plant to its surroundings, especially the contrast between plants and human beings, and plants and animals. Talk about the out-breathing and in-breathing of the plant. Allow the children to experience how “bad” air is the very thing used by the plant, through the power of the sun, to build up again what later serves as food for people. When speaking of human dependence on food you can point to the importance of a good harvest, and so on. With regard to the process of growth it should be made clear that each plant, even the leaf, grows only at the base and not at the tip. The actual process is always concealed. (p.115)

 


 


 

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