The fifth-grade child is reaching the height of childhood. Capacities have solidified and consolidation runs through the whole fifth grade year. The child begins to realize what he or she knows and can do. Rudolf Steiner said that fifth grade is a year of balance. Though this is true, it can be misleading. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the fifth-grade year is without any problems. This balance is most clearly true for the physical maturing of the child, as a child. For the first time the breath and heartbeat reach adult proportions. Each breath is now accompanied by four heartbeats.
Literacy has been made an urgent issue in the last decade. As parents and teachers, we worry, often deeply. Back in the 1900s, we didn’t worry so desperately. Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat
, and T.V.’s “Sesame Street” were ever present to reassure us that ways were there for children to learn to read. Maybe these extrinsic tools for children to learn to read and copy writing laid the foundations for the worry — if these tools did not do the trick, perhaps there was something wrong with the child.