The Montessori elementary program is designed for children aged 6-12 years old. According to Maria Montessori, it is a time when the child's imagination is a "fertile field". The child begins to feel a strong sense of justice and to adopt a logical approach to understanding the world. The child's perspective begins to span beyond the family and into society at large. Social groups and peer interaction become extremely important. Interest becomes the critical path to academic discovery. Montessori's elementary program concepts leverage these attributes in academic method and philosophy. For example, the elementary student is intrigued with large number problems as a function of imagination, a fact used to stimulate enthusiasm in lesson follow-up work. As in the first plane of development (age 0-6), Montessori provides a path to abstract academic concepts through concrete experience using tangible materials.
This organic approach to learning is just now being "discovered" at universities around the world, in statistically rigorous and well controlled studies. Montessori's elementary program concepts provide the child a "cosmic education" (Montessori's name for inter-discipline academics), that ultimately leads the student to self-discovery, positive self-esteem, self-control and natural confidence. The Montessori elementary program develops the student's appreciation of the natural, technical and sociological inheritances provided by creation and preceding generations - without numbing the student's ability to reform, revise and revolutionize when necessary. Academic excellence is a notable by product of Montessori students who are "set free" to reach their full human potential. At the same time, order, social responsibility and emotional intelligence are important aspects of the Montessori elementary classroom which help maintain an environment conducive to learning.