The “nine-year change” or the “Rubicon” as it is otherwise known, signifies the phase in human development when the child moves out of the symbiosis with the adult world and begins to get a stronger sense of his/her own individuality. This crisis, meant in the most positive sense of the word, is met in the curriculum with creation stories from all over the world, an agriculture block and a house building block. Thus, the child is given the opportunity to relate, on an unconscious level, to the idea of the creation of an individual human being on this earth and how he/she began to create his/her own space.
As the child approaches the developmental phase of moving out of the symbiosis with the mother/father and the world, the question, “Where did I come from and how did it all begin?” begins to awaken in the child. In order to offer the child an opportunity to find an echo for the unconscious questions, stories about the emergence of the world and all that there is in it are offered to the children.
In their individualization process, the most varied, imaginative, multi-faceted ways to approach these questions from ancient civilizations to modern day explanations are provided to the children.
Math, reading and writing skills are further developed and are often related to the content of the agriculture/house building blocks. Cursive handwriting is introduced and the children get the opportunity to learn how to express themselves on paper in a beautiful way. The content of what they are writing becomes much more complex and more independence from the teacher is encouraged in the reading and writing. Books are offered in the classroom and comprehension texts are given to the children to ensure that they are really able to understand not only literary texts but also more factual texts.
The first grammar block allows the children to become aware of the kinds of words that we use – nouns adjectives and verbs are the main focus in the Third Grade grammar block. Vocabulary is expanded in a context. Each block (even the mathematic blocks) allows for the practicing of written and oral language.
Additional Blocks in Grade 3 are:
As the children experience themselves as individuals, the study of agriculture and how the human being began in certain parts of the world to settle and grow her/his own food consciously is a very important contribution to understanding one’s own independence and what responsibilities this process brings with it. Once the human being started to settle and farm, she/he had to take care of the animals that were no longer free and they had to take care of the land that they were now using very differently to how nature used it.
Studying how human beings began to build shelters to protect themselves, the variety of shelters around the world and how again, a great deal of care had to be taken in order to build a sound shelter, gives the child an echo of the “shelter” she/he is now building as an emerging individual, separate from the adults around her/him. In the course of writing about farming and shelter building, writing skills are honed both on the handwriting level and on the content level.
Third graders are introduced to long division and double-digit multiplication, as well as longer word problems. A focus on measurement, with lessons on linear measurement, liquid and dry volume, time and temperature, emphasizes the practical application of math. Students are expected to know their multiplication tables; mental arithmetic games help to strengthen math skills. Form drawing continues to prepare children on their work in geometry.