Fifth grade marks a pivotal point in the curriculum. While the students begin the year with studies of the mythologies of several ancient cultures, they transition away from mythology into history with the biography of Alexander the Great. They will wrestle with ethical question of his “Great”-ness. They also continue to hone their research and presentation skills with an independent project. Botany and Geometry present students the opportunity to explore the wonder and beauty of the world around us through mathematical and scientific lenses.

The Child

The fifth grader is confident, enthusiastic and capable of doing increasingly challenging academic and artistic work. This is frequently considered a “golden year” in which the child exhibits a definite harmonious quality before becoming saddled with the challenges of adolescence. The fifth grader also has an increasing understanding of personal responsibility and a growing awakening to the larger idea of ethics.

The Class

In fifth grade, the study of ancient history begins in ancient India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece. Students study the creation of written languages, read translations of ancient poetry, study hieroglyphics, recreate the building of temples and pyramids as models, and incorporate ancient art into their own artistic work. Grammar lessons are incorporated into these themes and verb tenses are introduced in compositions. By contrast, the children will study American geography and economic relationships among people living in various regions. A natural extension of geography is botany, where students learn about the relationship of the plants to the earth and sun and how they change in the course of the year. In the mathematics blocks, the students will review fractions, learn about fractional equivalents, mixed numbers, reciprocals, improper fractions, decimals and decimal place. In addition, the children begin free-hand geometric drawing. In the world language program, the children hold short dialogues and give short talks, which include descriptive language. The students may study a Sanskrit poem and learn to speak and write Greek phrases. The fine and practical arts program will include clay modeling, carving, knitting socks, drawing geometric forms and watercolor painting. Physical education will include eurythmy as well as participation in a pentathlon. In music, the children continue with a strings instrument or playing recorder in addition to chorus.


Cori Ament
Grade 5 – Laurel Trees   Teacher

Cori Amendt is a Multiple Subject Credentialed Teacher, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, with a minor in Child Development. 

She studied Waldorf education at Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California. She enjoys spending time in nature with her family (hiking, biking, lounging), reading, writing, and traveling. Learning is a lifelong enjoyment and pursuit for her, particularly in her journey to bilingualism in the Italian language. Her professional career began as a Counselor for young children in crisis. Eventually, this work led her to the classroom, where she felt she could be of bountiful service to the youth in her community. She has been in education for over a decade, in public, private and charter schools. After she met her husband, an Italian national, she went on to teach in Italy at Lycee Francias for 2 years, as the English Department Coordinator and Foreign Language Teacher across the grades (K-8). Upon returning to the US, she found what she considers her truest calling, that of a Waldorf teacher. Under esteemed mentorships, she took a class through grades 1-3 at Ocean Charter School in Culver City before coming to Maple Village as the Laurel Tree teacher three years ago. After taking time to be home with her children, she is eager to return to the Laurel class to continue this meaningful work. 

Cathrine Ji
Grade 5 – Laurel Trees
Support Teacher

Cathrine Ji 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. She was a 3rd grade lead teacher at The Hartsbrook Waldorf School in Hadley, Massachusetts and this past year expertly lead the Laurel Tree class. When she is not busy, Cathrine takes dance classes, travels, and writes fiction.