Grade 3 at Waldorf schools is a pivotal year for children. Around their 9th birthdays, children become more aware of their own individuality and more curious about the world around them. The curriculum this year, therefore, strives to support them during this transformation time by providing practical opportunities on living and surviving day to day, such as farming and gardening.
Examples of this include being responsible for the school’s vegetable garden, supporting the care of the school grounds, working on a farm during their first overnight trip as a class, and doing regular cooking and baking. The students also learn about textiles, natural fibers and clothing. In these ways they learn the arts and skills of living in the bigger world they are now discovering.
As they begin this year, PWS Grade 3 students participated in the tradition of celebrating Sukkot as a class.
Sukkot is an ancient Jewish holiday remembering the Jews wandering in the desert and expressing gratitude for all they were provided, food and water, during that time. It is a harvest celebration where a simple structure is erected and decorated with the autumn beauty of the harvest.
The third grade sukkot was assembled with the help of class parents and the students worked together to decorate the structure. They added corn stalks, grape vines, vine maple branches and elderberry branches, hydrangea and sunflowers. Ms. Desantis, the third grade teacher, asked the children to bring offerings of their own from home: dried (or live) flowers, colorful foliage, branches with berries, cattails, or things from the garden, whatever they found beautiful or interesting.
After the work of decorating was done, the class ate their snack and/or lunch in their sukkot every day that week. They had such joy in their work, and joy in being together as a class. It looked the a wonderful beginning to a very special year.