In the fourth grade, that blanket of young childhood has been tossed aside, and the child feels very separate from any of the security and comforts that previously were supportive. This is a time to look around and see how one stands in relationship to that which is near, and to find security and uprightness through that relationship.
The fourth grader is at odds with the world. Questions take on a personal twist: “How do you know?” There is an earnestness stemming from a new awareness of just what they are up against in the world. Therefore, every possible opportunity is given to meet these oppositions in quite unexpected ways, ways in which the child can have the experience of crossing, and at the same time be led towards a wholesome resolution.
The theme of separateness is further reflected in the curriculum with the study of fractions. They are introduced with concrete objects to demonstrate truths before forming mental concepts.
Throughout the year we hear and read stories of heroes. The hero emerges as someone to look up to, emulate, laugh at, respect. There may still be the miraculous feats, and yet the human qualities, the emotions, the struggles, and the confrontations are emphasized; the children understand more than anyone else their plight to slay the dragon, to woo the maiden, to succeed in the three tasks.
Geography, local history, Norse mythology, grammar, composition writing, and a comparative study of the human being and animals are also introduced. In composition, simple narration of the child’s own real experience begins, and work in grammar continues.