Highlights from the 5th Grade Ancient Civilizations Block

By WSP parents Sarah Teo and Kremena Mironova Indian dinner photos by Cari Ellen Hermann

The quest to understand and honor world cultures is found throughout the Waldorf curriculum. Multi-sensory, hands-on experiences are an important part of the process: students listen to legends, learn to play or sing the culture's music, and are asked to make hand-drawn illustrations in careful and colorful detail.

In their first Language Arts block of the year, Mrs. Mazzone's 5th grade studied many ancient civilizations, including those of Mesopotamia, Persia, India, and Egypt. Students explored mythologies and creation stories. They drew archaic maps of each land, and learned how geography shaped each civilization. Early forms of writing, geometry and architecture were examined as a basis for understanding modern societies.

For every 5th grade class at WSP, studies in Ancient India culminate in an Indian dinner prepared and served by their parents. Caroline and Bob Phinney, who were among the founders of the school, have been hosting this event at their organic farm next door for over 20 years.

This event is an opportunity for many students to try curried dishes for the first time!

WSP's Sculptural Arts program also enriches and supports course studies throughout the grades as students learn by doing. How do The Buddha's legs and arms fold in meditation? If he were holding a bowl of medicine?

Ancient Egypt came alive for the class during a visit in December by WSP parent and Egyptologist Dr. Carolin Arlt. Dr. Arlt gave an in-depth explanation of the different writing systems and materials that were developed and used over Ancient Egypt's 4000 year history. She also shared two fascinating tales of fiction, composed about 4000 years ago and discovered, deciphered, and translated at the beginning of the last century.

"To wonder at beauty" through so many different means is a unique and compelling aspect of Waldorf Education. Celebrating its 100th year in 2019 - with schools thriving in many communities and cultures around the planet - there is still nothing quite like it.

To wonder at beauty, Stand guard over truth, Look up to the noble, Resolve on the good. This leadeth us truly To purpose in living, To right in our doing, To peace in our feeling, To light in our thinking. And teaches us trust, In the working of God, In all that there is, In the width of the world, In the depth of the soul.

Rudolph Steiner

Want to learn more about our rich, interdisciplinary education? Come visit us! To schedule a tour, please email admissions@princetonwaldorf.org or call 609-466-1970.

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