As the children begin the Third Grade they are looking at the world with new eyes. No longer are simple explanations adequate. What once passed by unnoticed, now begins to be questioned. No longer are they content to be part of life without doubts and questions. They begin to perceive the world around them from an expanding perspective.
To meet this change in the children, the study of different ancient civilizations around the world begins. The Waldorf curriculum includes creation stories from difficult cultures, starting in Third Grade with some stories from the Old Testament. The study of humanity continues through the Fall out of Paradise into the archetypal struggles for existence as found in the Old Testament stories. Weaving into the struggles told here are the practical lessons of shelter, clothing and farming. Through this study, individual skills are discovered to meet the conditions found here on earth.
The Third Grader studies the different geographies and climates of the world. Through the work with the practical problems of existence, the tools of measurement are discovered. Arithmetic will be cloaked in linear, weight and volume measurement as well as time. The practical skills of the four processes will continue to be developed through increased practice periods.
As the first buds of analytical thinking emerge, the students are nurtured with beautiful imagination and practical experience. From now on real work is increasingly possible and indeed must be expected in order to balance the emerging sense of inner self.