3rd Grade Academics


The third grade curriculum forms a transition between the early grades and the middle grades. It is the year of the nine-year-change, a significant milestone in the developmental path of individuation. The children are “coming down to earth”. The fertile and diffuse imagination of childhood is condensing toward observations and practical common sense applications; the sense of wonder turns more inward, directed toward a search for personal identity, a new feeling of separate selfhood.

This phase of the human development is accompanied in the curriculum by Bible Stories and the experience and traditions of the Hebrew people: The Creation, the Garden of Eden, the Fall from Paradise, the Exodus from Egypt, the Wandering in the Wilderness, the Ten Commandments, the Journey to the Promised Land, the Kings and Prophets. Such story content is complemented by an immersion in practical crafts associated with food, clothing, and shelter. The children take up gardening and spend a week at a farm; they learn to cook and to work with wool (carding, spinning, weaving in handwork); they engage in building.

At the same time there is also a distinct shift toward a more academic approach. In math the students concentrate on multiplication tables, while mastering carrying and borrowing, and learning about longer processes with larger numbers. They also study measurement and apply it in practical ways ( e.g. cooking, house building, setting up a shop). Writing in cursive and reading are supplemented by spelling and grammar (parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs) and basic punctuation. The pages of their main lesson books become larger and more complex, and the students participate more actively in their composition.

The children often learn the Hebrew alphabet, celebrate Jewish festivals, and learn traditional Hebrew songs and dances. By the end of third grade most students are reading independently, many quite fluently, some at an advanced level. They are familiar with the times tables (up to 12) and are well on their way to mastering them. They understand the calendar and can tell time. They have acquired many new practical skills – gardening, building, working with wool. They are singing in rounds and loving it, and their mastery of rhythm extends to folk dancing. They are learning to compose their own poems and stories. They are ready for the middle grades.