While the third grade curriculum helped the child to reconnect to the world around them through practical studies and activities, the fourth grade curriculum helps the child orient themselves in space and time through a study of local geography. Fourth grade students possess the solid academic skills needed to participate in more independent projects. The teacher directs their curiosity about the world toward nature and animals.

The Child

Fourth graders become more self-confident as their perceptions of the world sharpen. They possess greater social and academic skills that allow them to become more independent. These developmental steps broaden the child’s perspective and open a world of endless, exciting possibilities. The fourth grader has an adventurous spirit, is full of curiosity, and is eager to explore new capacities for learning and creativity.

The Class

Fourth grade marks the start of studying geography. Students study local geography by learning to make maps of their classroom, school and neighborhood and discover the directions of north, south, east and west. In language arts, students enjoy studying the themes of courage, compassion, sacrifice, good and mischief embodied by the characters in Norse myth stories. The students also have the opportunity to discover the wondrous versatility of the human being in the science zoology block called Man and Animal. Here the children study the specialized skills and habits of the animals and relate them to the uniqueness of the human being. In mathematics, the study of breaking things into parts becomes the basis for adding, subtracting, multiplying, reducing and expanding fractions. Spanish language study now includes simple reading, grammar, and written work. The fine and practical arts include clay modeling, geometric figures, form drawing, watercolor painting and cross-stitch embroidery. Music classes continue with singing canons, rounds and harmonies. Instrumentally, the children continue recorder playing and strings in a group, both of which now require reading from notation. Physical education continues with  eurythmy block, jump rope block, and games.


Cathrine Ji
Grade 4 – Laurel Trees

Cathrine was born in Seoul, South Korea, and came to the US at the age of 12 when she first learned English. She is the mother of four children,…

…two of whom have attended Maple Village Waldorf School.

She has a BA in English with a Summa Cum Laude distinction from UC Irvine and holds a JD from UC Berkeley Law School. Before starting her path in Waldorf education, she taught high school students how to write and to read critically and imaginatively. She finished her Waldorf Teacher Education at Waldorf School of Orange County. She has a deep love of children and maintains ongoing relationships with the kids she has taught from early childhood through the grades. Recently she was a 3rd grade lead teacher at The Hartsbrook Waldorf School in Hadley, Massachusetts. But the responsibility of caring for her elderly mother has called her back to Southern California. When she is not busy, Cathrine takes dance classes, travels, and writes fiction.