Teaching Grade 3

Becoming a Steward of the Earth: Awakening to Self and Surroundings

with Kris Ritz

In the third grade, children have a dawning recognition of becoming separate from the world. With the nine-/ten-year change, children come into a new relationship with themselves as “Ego” bearers along with the earth as they are guided towards becoming a steward of the land. To support the third graders through this profound transition, the adults need to carry a soul mood of reassurance and unwavering commitment. In addition, the curriculum offers the children the rich nourishment necessary for this developmental shift.

In our time together, the foundational question underlying each curriculum block study will be explored so that the questions of what specific stories, songs, verses, movement activities, and more can best be addressed. Examples of activities that complement the various blocks and seasonal festivities will be presented as will aspects of the morning lesson, including movement (essential for learning), the new element of the block that unfolds daily, the review of the previous day’s lesson, practice work related to the block (that can also be translated to movement), bookwork, and the story shared (from the Hebrew Bible, Native American traditions, and more). Since third grade children are transitioning from their home space to the larger surroundings, they are introduced to practical activities such as farming, gardening, cooking, baking, handwork, and building. As a result, different project ideas — a weaving project, recipe book, garden journal, and more — will be shared for you to consider.

Resources will also be provided that can be helpful in your preparation process — from a sample block plan, weekly schedule, and birthday verses to parent meeting notes about the significant nine-/ten-year change along with considerations for best practices related to on-campus and parallel online learning options to support your teaching efforts during this unique time. In addition to reviewing the academic, artistic, and behavioral realms of school, we will also explore topics related to the social/emotional and will-building capacities of children at this age. The indications offered will serve as a foundation for our working together in which activities, experiences, observations, and pedagogical insights unfold to meet the rich and hearty “verb” year of third grade.

Morning lectures with Christof Wiechert 
Singing with Meg Chittenden

Kris Ritz, who joined the Emerson Waldorf School community in 2008, is grateful for the creative students (and community-building parents) who are engaged in their fifth grade year with a sense of purpose and humor. Before returning to North Carolina, she was a class teacher at the Austin Waldorf School and spent a year at Plowshare Farm, an anthroposophical life-sharing community. Born in Upstate New York, Kris graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. During a career in advertising, she discovered Waldorf education, returned to school, and earned a Waldorf certificate and Master’s degree from Antioch New England Graduate School.

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