During fifth grade, the students become more aware of their individuality as they grow to see themselves as an essential, integral part of their community. The students have the opportunity to explore and develop intellectual rigor, spirituality, leadership, and creativity. They continue to realize the importance of taking time for quiet prayer and meditation as well as finding a balance between reflection and action. Through peer and community interactions they continue the lifelong process of discovering that individual rights must be balanced with individual responsibilities. They begin to move out from the small “circle of me” toward a growing awareness of the larger world.
Interdisciplinary projects and presentations offer the students opportunities to develop critical thinking through rigorous study and varied learning experiences. By practicing the skills of research, reading, listening, speaking, writing and synthesizing, the students learn to refine and own their learning process. They investigate primary sources and use research and the creative arts to interpret and comprehend historical events, as in the presentation of a play about the life of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat. The students encounter a variety of role models in a week-long immersion project researching the lives of notable women. They recognize and strengthen their language and presentation facilities through participation in the Fairchild Challenge, the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair and various inter-school competitions. Students continue to develop an awareness of social and environmental justice through research, reflection, and interaction on local and global issues. Assuming the role of student representatives and participating in community service provide opportunities for students to continue to learn the elements essential to a democracy and to practice student leadership.