The third grader transitions from the imaginative early childhood years into the concrete experiences of childhood. At this time the child’s confidence might decrease and fears about the world increase, just as the child is beginning to question the authority and competence of adults. The children are leaving the dreamy, imaginary world of early childhood and becoming more aware of the real world.
The third grade core curriculum includes reading, spelling, writing, original compositions, grammar, punctuation and parts of speech, cursive writing, multiplication tables and long division, measures, weights, and money. Old Testament stories address the children’s experience as they leave the protected world of early childhood. The stories provide context for a wealth of practical activities including cooking, farming, clothing, and study of shelters (houses of the world).
By the end of third grade, the students are familiar with lower case and cursive writing. Most of the students read independently at or above grade level. They are able to retell stories in complete sentences and compose simple summaries of main lesson material. They exhibit an understanding of the use of the capital letter to begin sentences and proper punctuation to end a sentence. Games are played in which the children act out the different parts of speech and functions of the period, the comma, the question mark, and the exclamation point. Grammar is further introduced as the students learn to identify naming words (nouns), doing words (verbs), and describing words (adjectives).
In mathematics, children study measurement beginning with body-based measurement and proceeding to modern, standardized measure. The third graders work on all times tables in random order and proceed to long division. Their arithmetic begins with concrete, practical activities and then progresses to problem solving on paper.
In nature study, work processes related to gardening and the processing of fruits and vegetables are consciously observed and described. The students study life science through hands-on work. Third graders also listen to creation stories from cultures around the world for a holistic image of the origins of the earth, plants, animals, and human beings.
In the farming main lesson, the children learn how the farmer works with the elements of nature. In addition to using the plow, sowing, and harvesting, the children fix fences, prepare garden beds, and weed crops. These activities build a feeling of competence and expose the children to materials, conditions, and processes that provide a basis for future formal science study.
Third graders also receive instruction in Spanish, German, handwork, eurythmy, games and movement, farming and gardening, and music.