The Elementary program is designed to meet the needs of the child from six to nine years of age. The environment is prepared with the characteristics of the older child in mind. The Elementary child is very much concerned with issues of fairness and right and wrong. There is a desire to know the reasons for things. Very often there is mainly an interest in the how and the why. Although the lessons of the Elementary class are not always a direct continuation of those in the Primary class, they are certainly built upon that foundation. As the Primary level is characterized as being the period for the absorption of environment, the Elementary level is the period for the acquisition of culture.
Language, mathematics, geography, history, music, and biology are areas which are interrelated. For example, the historical aspect of language is given with the history of the alphabet, the development of written language, grammar analysis, and word study. Geography and science precede history by giving the child first an impression of the formation of the earth through stories, charts, and experiments. Pre-history is related to biology with the story of the development of animals and plants and related experiments.
The first science experiments are designed to give the child the basic knowledge which will make possible the understanding of the development of the solar system, the earth and its parts, life on earth, and the needs of plants and animals. Montessori biology is structured in such a way as to give the child a means of classification so that he can structure and relate the facts of biology. The ultimate goal is an ecological view of life and a feeling of responsibility for the environment.
“Imagination is the great power of this age. The secret of good teaching is to regard the child’s intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination. Our aim therefore is not merely to make the child understand...but to touch his imagination as to inflame his enthusiasm to its innermost core. By offering the child the story of the universe, we give him something a thousand times more wonderful and mysterious to grasp with his imagination, a drama no fable can reveal.”
-Dr. Maria Montessori, 1870-1952