Lower School
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Scaling Olympus

From the myths of the ancient Egyptians, Indians and Persians to the written history of the ancient Greeks, fifth graders move from the stories of ancient peoples to the formal study of history. At the same time, fifth graders attain a certain ease and grace of physical movement intrinsic to their age. An awareness of self strengthens. The celebration of these unique abilities culminates in the fifth grade's participation in the Greek Olympiad, a glorious pentathlon event with other regional Waldorf schools.

Olympics
Botany
Woodworking
Main Lessons
Class Teacher

Class Teacher

Joshua Gartland

Joshua was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and was raised in the suburbs of New York City. He began tap dancing at the age of six, competing occasionally at the national level. He began acting in high school and received a BFA in Theater Performance from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Joshua then moved to New York City where he worked on a number of productions with the Present Company Theatorium as well as a national children's tour with the Chamber Theater. He became a mime for a brief while and studied under Paul J. Curtis in the American Mime Theater. It was September 11th, 2001, however, that gave Joshua perspective. Soon after, he shifted focus and began working at OM Yoga where he eventually became the senior manager of one of the largest yoga facilities in the country. Joshua received a degree in Waldorf Education from Sunbridge College before eventually taking a first grade through four years at the Waldorf School of Garden City in Long Island, NY. Joshua now lives in Decatur with his wife, Sara, and his two daughters, both of whom are WSA students. Joshua enjoys books, athletics, singing, dancing, and of course, performing.

Grade Five Pedagogical Overview

In the first four years of school there is a strong emphasis on form, both of the class as a whole, and of each child's habits. In the next four years, there is a subtle and gradual shift in emphasis toward content, in lessons and in the world at large. This shift in emphasis, of course, follows the child's own lead, responding to his or her changing consciousness. By age eleven, children reach a kind of balance and regular alternation between their awareness of the world and of their own inner lives. There is balance, too, in their mental, emotional, and physical growth.

The fifth grade curriculum seeks to extend the children both outwardly and inwardly. Outwardly, in terms of space, they expand their horizons of the earth and the plants that cover it. In terms of time, they experience five civilizations spanning thousands of years. Inwardly, they extend their awareness of the math processes they perform, and also of the words they speak and the sentences they write. As their intellectual faculties become stronger, students are able to approach their cognitive work in a more realistic and reasoning manner.

By the fifth grade, students have generally attained a certain ease and grace of physical movement intrinsic to their age. The celebration of their unique abilities at this time culminates in their participation in a Greek Olympiad, a pentathlon event with other regional Waldorf schools.