Curriculum, Fourth Grade
Inner and outer worlds are no longer one world for the nine-year-old. The greatest care must now be taken to bring the outer world to the child in a way that makes it possible for him everywhere to discover its human meaning.
In their study of man and animal, the child can now model a head of a human and the animals he is studying. Because this is an age of hero worship seeking an inspiring picture of human nature, history looks at the Finnish and Norse sagas with their stress on strength and boldness rather than cunning. These poetic forms offer vivid contrasts to enrich and develop his intensified inner life. In composition simple narration of the child's own real experiences begins with continued work in grammar and the introduction of letter forms.
Fractions are introduced with concrete objects to demonstrate truths before forming mental concepts.
Social studies begin with familiar things of the child's own time and environment and lead him gradually to an experience of less familiar places and events. Simple map drawing of travel routes, home, and school is followed by a study of state geography.
Now the children begin to write as well as speak in a foreign language. Their understanding of grammar progresses to the point that they can consciously grasp rules underlying the construction of the language.
In music, the child's newly strengthened individuality now gives him the ability to hold his own in part-singing as he could not have done successfully before; canons and rounds form a natural bridge to this exciting new skill. He shows his first real delight in harmony and the minor key answers a deep-felt need leading inward in self-discovery. All children begin studying a stringed instrument during special subject times in fourth grade.
At this crossing point in development, handwork takes up cross stitch. The children design and execute an original cross stitch pattern in addition to embroidery and sewing.
(The above description is paraphrased from Teaching as a Lively Art, by Marjorie Spock.)