Grade 5

A Time of Balance and Harmony

Fifth graders have new capacities for thought and reflection, and begin an exploration of human history and world geography. They are creative, confident, and eager to work cooperatively. They have an emerging sense of personal responsibility and community.

Students explore the physical characteristics of the earth and the plant life that grows on its surface. In botany, the class studies monocotyledon and dicotyledon plants, algae, and mosses, and investigate how climate and geography affect plant growth. In math, students practice fractions and decimals, ratios and proportions.

Ancient Civilizations

Fifth graders journey back to the dawn of civilization in India, Persia, Eygpt, and Greece. Students begin to see the world through the perspective of these early people—through their art, music, and mythology. This is the beginning of their multi-year exploration of the development of human consciousness.


Language Arts

  • Grammar: Active and passive verbs, prepositional phrases, paragraph structure
  • Class readers and book reports
  • Research, writing, and oral presentations
  • Class Play


  • Review four basic mathematical with at least two-digit numbers
  • Mastering of fractions and introduction to decimals, and relationships between the two
  • Ratios and proportions
  • Exploration of ancient mathematical systems
  • Mental math practice
  • Number patterns such as Sieve of Eratosthenes for finding primes, arithmetic vs. geometric progressions


  • Plants observed over time and in relation to their natural environment
  • Exploration of formative forces of the plant world: expanding, loosening, and extending in the flowers; contracting, consolidating, and absorbing in the root; balancing between intake of water and nutrient in the leaves and the elimination of gases and oils.
  • Monocotyledon and dicotyledon plants, algae, and mosses, and investigate how climate and geography affect plant growth.

Social Studies

  • Geography
  • Ancient civilization of India, Persia, Eygpt, and Greece.


  • Comprehension and re-telling of stories, incorporating outlined vocabulary
  • Summarize stories in writing (group or individually) with clarify, verbal expression, extension, and organizational skills.
  • Individual readers: spoken word and reading comprehension
  • Grammar and syntax practiced: sentence agreement and beginning conjugation of regular verbs


  • Introduction of the Pinyin alphabet system
  • Further emphasis in reading Chinese characters through recognition of radicals and other patterns.
  • Use plants as pictograms to introduce Chinese characters
  • Chinese culture through stories and folklore of ancient China


  • Knitting in the round using four double-pointed needs to make socks, mitten, fingerless gloves, and hats.
  • Concentration and mathematical skills deepened
  • Combinations of purls, knits, slips, and other stitches to control shape and design.


  • Introduction to woodworking and correct tools useage
  • Simple creative projects introduced to develop skills with the medium


  • Introduction of different styles of forming sound gestures and moving in space (in conjunction with studies of ancient civilizations)
  • Development of spatial and social awareness of moving and working together as a group
  • Music of two voices: stepping to the rhythm of a lower melody with the fee while clapping the rhythm of an upper melody with the hands

Games & Gym

  • Themed games based on Ancient Greece, India, and other cultures
  • Hanging and swinging apparatus; rock and rope climbing skills; catching and aiming exercises
  • Spatial Dynamics and Bothmer Gymnastics
  • Pentathlon event training: javelin, discus, wrestling, running

Grade 5 Faculty

Alyssa Stellar
Class Teacher
Maria Loreto
Christine Wang

Yoriko Yamamoto

Rodney Sutton

Monika Leitz

Lisa Sargent


Mona Nemetz
Games and Gym




Fifth graders from Waldorf schools around the Bay Area come together to compete in a Pentathlon: javelin, discus, long jump, running, and wrestling. The event, like the early Olympics, reflects the ideals of balance, strength, and peaceful competition. For the students, it is the culmination of their study of Ancient Greece and skills practiced in Games & Gym.