As the parent of a third grader I felt the need to brush up on the developmental threshold that is the nine-year-change. At this point children take a further step away from the dreamy feeling of being one with the world and begin to realize that they are more independent and alone. Like Adam and Eve leaving the Garden of Eden, they must now find a way to survive in the world. The third grade curriculum meets them so beautifully in giving them these skills.
Parents who want to meet this change in a very conscious way would do well to read Encountering the Self by Hermann Koepke
I find this book very approachable and though it is from a teacher’s point of view, it is written with parents in mind. It goes through a few different scenarios of questions and concerns that might be arising within children of this age. It articulates how these tangible changes are symptoms of the nine-year change. Even reading it for the second time I found it quite valuable.
Having enjoyed Encountering the Self so much, when my oldest started to move towards the 12-year-change in sixth grade, Koepke was the first author I turned to. Though I think he does a very good job articulating the changes that happen around the 12-year change, I did not enjoy On the Threshold of Adolescence quite as much as Encountering the Self. Some of the scenarios Koepke describes in the book were more serious than anything I had seen in my sixth graders (including smoking and shoplifting.) Still, the information is relevant if you apply it to the more moderate issues that most Waldorf sixth graders encounter.
One note, dear readers, I am back in the classroom full-time this year. While this is wonderful because it gives me all kinds of relevant, fresh information to write about, it also means my time is more limited. I am encouraged that my readership continues to remain high, despite my sudden, extended break from posting. Now that I’m settled into the school year I plan on incorporating blogging time into my regular rhythm, so I should be posting more frequently. If there’s any topic you’d like to read more about please let me know!