In Grade Four, the transition from early childhood is complete. The children emerge with greater awareness, expressed in new confidence and greater vigor. They want to experience the world from an individual standpoint, to find their particular place in the world. They develop a sense of where they are in relation to their environment, in both a social and geographical sense. Fourth grade students are eager to learn about the world close to home. Through imaginatively presented lessons, the teacher meets the growing interest of the children in concrete areas of knowledge and provides them with opportunities for more independence. At Circle of Seasons, fourth grade students study the Lehigh Valley's and Pennsylvania's geography and history. Studying their town or city, region, and state helps the fourth grader form a sense of their relationship to their environment, in both a social and geographical sense. The class starts in their own classroom and carefully makes maps of their room, then of the school, then of their route to school, gradually branching out to their town, county, and state. The curriculum is augmented with stories of local places, the mountain ranges, and other geological characteristics. The crops, minerals, water resources, and development of industry in the region become alive through story.
During the fourth grade year, students are challenged to extend themselves in every aspect of their work. Their growing interest in concrete knowledge is met through natural science in a study of the animal kingdom in relation to the human being. The study of animals and humans is approached through drawing, modeling, painting, drama, and composition.
The common theme is to gain an insight into the human being and gain a love and responsibility for the animal kingdom. Science study remains imaginative, experiential, and artistic.
Norse mythology present the children with images of diverse, strong-willed personalities all contributing to the social whole. Stories from Nordic culture give the children the strength to face these challenges. These stories contain miraculous feats juxtaposed with human qualities which speak to child’s own emotional struggles and social confrontations.
Throughout this year, students are encouraged to take greater responsibility for their own learning. They complete several independent projects and give formal presentations to the class. Composition, grammar, and reading are integrated into each Main Lesson block.
Mathematical work is also often integrated each day and Mathematic Main Lesson blocks focus upon working with larger numbers through comparison, rounding, and the four processes: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Fractions are studied physically and pictorially and the four processes applied. Problem solving, riddles, mental math, story problems, and measurement are integrated throughout.
In form drawing, the children may accompany their work with Norse Mythology by drawing freehand the weaving designs, symbols and decorative motifs of the Norse people and Celts. Themes of symmetry and geometric work are focused upon. Fourth grade students work to draw these challenging Celtic Knots with skill and beauty as well as continuing Handwork, Spanish, Movement, Gardening, and Music. In fourth grade, students continue their recorder study but also begin to play string instruments requiring discipline and respect.
Native American Legends
Grammar, punctuation, and spelling
Mastery of multiplication tables
Pennsylvania History (including biographies of famous individuals)
Science (Human and Animal Studies):
Comparative anatomy (head, torso, limbs)
Basic organization of species groups
Animal Research project
Modeling (beeswax or clay)
Games & Movement
"Children have an immense capacity for concentration and hard work when they are passionate about what they are doing."
-- John Gatto