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Approaching Grade Five: Inspiration and Guidance for Your Year

Sunday, June 30, 2024 - Friday, July 5, 2024

Professional development for Waldorf teachers and home school parents. Read all about Summer Series 2024.

Taught remotely in real-time, this course offers you an invaluable opportunity to focus entirely on your upcoming fifth grade school year in five days brimming with presentations, discussions, and practical activities.

Under the guidance of an experienced class teacher, you’ll discover ways to enliven your teaching and learn how to approach the blocks so that they may meet the fifth grader in a meaningful and lively way. With the insights of anthroposophy, gleaned through a discussion of child development focusing on your class’s age group, you will get to know the fifth grade child in depth as they stand on the balancing point between childhood and adolescence.

Along with time and space to consider and hone your skills in such practical matters as main lesson books, block planning, projects and activities, and classroom management, your course will include such key topics for fifth graders—and their teachers—as:

  • Topics in language arts, including paragraph writing and class plays
  • Fifth grade approach to ancient cultures, including Greek history and mythology
  • Topics in math: fractions to decimal fractions
  • Teaching free-hand geometry
  • Fifth grade approach to botany
  • Fifth grade approach to country/continental geography of North America
  • Pentathlon
  • Parent work and colleagueship

These subjects will be supported by explorations in art and music, giving you practical tools to take into your school year. In addition, you’ll gain many valuable opportunities for building connections among a community of parallel colleagues from across the country to carry with you throughout your teaching. And participation in an anthroposophical study undertaken in common with all Grades participants will help enable you to build bridges between colleagues and parents once you return to your school.

Grade-specific resource materials useful for your year, including poems, songs, stories, and main lesson book ideas, will be provided to you electronically.

NOTE: This course is taught with the expectation that you have a foundational background in Waldorf education.

Lead Instructor

Melissa McIntyre currently teaches grade five at Susquehanna Waldorf School where she has been on the faculty since 2003. Melissa has served her school as grades department chair, pedagogical chair, Leadership Council member and Council rep to the Board of Trustees, and as an AWSNA delegate. In addition to her 20 years on the SWS faculty, Melissa’s extensive teaching experience also includes serving as an elementary and middle school teacher for public schools in Florida and Idaho, and teaching at Department of Defense schools in Germany and at Sylvan Learning Centers in Florida and Pennsylvania. Melissa earned her BA in elementary education and art history from Rollins College and her MEd degree from the University of Central Florida.

Last year’s Summer Series participants had this to say about their course with Melissa:

  • To be honest, it was great.
  • Melissa has such a nurturing spirit. She gave us an abundance of information, yet was down to earth with reality. I feel confident going into this year.
  • This course was just what I needed! Melissa and the other teachers were well prepared and provided great content, and the sharing on Google Classroom for the next year is amazing in being able to have access to this content and resources.
  • I was informed way beyond my expectations and loved the inclusion of participant sharing and connecting. I really feel ready to plan my year and also come away with so many resources to refer back to and people to connect with. Wonderful!
  • Melissa was genuine, clear and held an environment of sharing and caring. She could pull all of this off in a digital classroom environment, and that was inspiring.
  • She was straightforward, honest and authentic. She clearly demonstrated her objectives for the course and delivered on them. She allowed time for us to connect to colleagues, asked insightful questions, and offered great advice.
  • Melissa was thorough and flexible. She did a great job of allowing the group to cohere together quickly and deeply in a short period of time. She was able to shift between leading discussions and guiding discussions with ease, and brought a genuineness throughout the experience. Well done Melissa!
  • Melissa has a wonderful and engaging teaching personality. When she did not have an answer to a question in the moment she did research and sent it to the google classroom. Her many classroom management ideas were wonderful.
  • I LOVED the Art portion. Kelly is an excellent instructor and I learned SO MUCH.
  • Kelly is an excellent instructor and really broke down the how and why of the different artistic approaches and how we could bring them to the children. I loved that she gave us all of her slide presentations and led us through different artistic experiences. In just 2 classes I came away with multiple lessons to bring to the children and a focus for how to approach drawing and painting. The Arts Portal is an incredible resource I know I will repeatedly go back to throughout the year. I cannot say enough about how helpful her sessions were.
  • Meggan Gill’s offerings around the subject of DEIJB work was phenomenal.
  • It was wonderful to connect with other Waldorf teachers teaching the same grade without having the expense of traveling to be in person.
  • If Melissa teaches again next year, count me in!

Your course also includes sessions in art with Kelly Beekman and music with Katey Dolezal.



This course takes place June 30-July 5 in a synchronous online classroom. ALL TIMES LISTED ARE EASTERN (NY) TIME ZONE.

NOTE: Classes WILL be held on July 4.

Sunday evening
6:15 pm-6:25 pm: Log-in for technical check-in and attendance
6:30 pm-8:15 pm: First session

Monday – Thursday
9:45 am-9:55 am: Log-in for technical check-in and attendance
Sessions run from 10:00 am through 4:45-5:00 pm, with time for breaks and lunch

9:45 am-9:55 am: Log-in for technical check-in and attendance
Sessions run from 10:00 am through 1:30 pm, with a mid-morning break

NoteMost sessions are required in order to receive a certificate of attendance. Others, such as Q&A sessions with your lead instructor and studio time with your art and music instructors, are optional. Participants should be prepared to work on course-related assignments outside of their regularly scheduled instructional sessions (including some that may be assigned in advance). Complete schedules will be sent two weeks before your course start date, along with a list of materials you will need to procure for use during your course.


$615 includes all resource materials, pre-recorded music and movement lessons, yearlong access to your Grade Five Google Classroom and Kelly Beekman’s art portal, and a $55 non-refundable registration fee.

25% discount for:

  • Students currently enrolled in a Sunbridge teacher education program
  • Sunbridge program graduates
  • Payments made in Canadian dollars

Accounts must be in good standing and discounts may not be combined. Qualification for discounts will be verified by Sunbridge staff.  


Please contact Barbara Vitale, admissions and summer coordinator, at [email protected] or 845-425-0055 x20

Sunbridge reserves the right to make faculty substitutions when necessary. See registration form for refund policy.


Sunbridge Institute Remotely
285 Hungry Hollow Road
Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977 United States
+ Google Map


Sunbridge Institute Remotely
285 Hungry Hollow Road
Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977 United States
+ Google Map