The Old Testament
The stories of the Old Testament are the children's first introduction to history. The children can relate the events in the stories to their own inner struggles; for instance mankind's fall from Paradise equates to the children's new feeling of separation from the world, and the building of the temple relates to their own bodies and skills. Portraits of strong individuals lead the children to sharpen their judgments of right and wrong. They witness how great individuals are both responsible and moral.
Practical Work: Shelters & Farming
The curriculum meets the developmental stage of the children by providing extensive practical work whereby they can associate both thought and deed. Studies of shelters, textiles, food and gardening are examples of the practical work. The latter also provides an opportunity for the children to work in community with each other.
Mathematics – Measurement & Time
The arithmetic curriculum, which deals with measurement, time, money and other practical applications, coincides with the children's need for orientation in space and time (ancient and modern). With respect to time, the children may make sundials, candle clocks, hourglasses, and pendulums. Linear measurement could include a study based on human anatomy: for instance, an inch was once the length of the thumb knuckle; a foot was the length of a human foot. The study of measurement reinforces the basic arithmetic skills and facts introduced in previous years. Work towards mastering the times tables and math facts continues through daily aural and written practice. The concepts of borrowing and carrying are reviewed and practiced along with times tables. Long division is usually introduced. The use of money can be introduced both historically and practically. Through movement, drawings, and use of chosen forms, the form drawing curriculum is a precursor to more complex mathematics and geometry.
Language Arts – Grammar & Spelling
The study of more formal rules and structure of the English language parallels the students' need for form. Basic parts of speech, punctuation, capitalization, indentation, and sentence and paragraph formation are usually taught. Spelling practice may begin in the weekly lessons. The children might write about the meals they prepared, shelters they made, textiles they created, or farms they visited. Children begin to recite longer poems and narratives, taking on both individual and choral parts. Students participate in a class play as well as assembly performances. Cursive handwriting, which may have been introduced in second grade or now in third grade, is practiced with the goal of developing a well-formed cursive script.
With respect to reading, students read aloud both published texts and those written by the teacher. The students have opportunities to practice sustained silent reading as well as choral reading and reading in small skill-based groups.
The World We Live In
Social studies and science are approached through a study of the environment and the earth itself. Through their studies of shelter, gardening, cooking, and fibers, the children discover how the natural environment inspires different dwelling and living styles. The students generally learn about dwellings around the world and a variety of modern approaches to housing.
The Arts & Music
Artistic activities continue to weave regularly in and out of all the curriculum work. The children's singing advances to simple rounds and songs sung in parts. The diatonic, full-scale soprano recorders replace the pentatonic recorders. Formal lessons in reading and writing music may begin in the main lesson to complement what is being taught in separate music classes. Drawing, painting and sculpting with clay and beeswax are integrated into the children's weekly rhythms.
In music, the third grade students learn to play a stringed instrument; the violin, viola or cello are taught in Strings class twice per week.