Maria Montessori called this phase of development "cosmic education" - a curriculum that teaches the grand interconnectedness of all things in the universe.
The Upper Elementary students are ready to see and understand this interconnectedness, as they develop their independence, expand their ability to concentrate and follow a work plan. Students are urged to “think globally, act locally” by participating in community service projects that they research and choose.
A Day in the Life of Upper Elementary
9:10 The Morning meeting covers rules for a new set of tools that will be used to understand scientific principles. The plan for the day is set out and students discuss how they will choose their Student Council for this year. At this level, teachers require students to evaluate information and seek out different opinions and facts before making decisions, helping students develop logic.
10:15 Two students work together on a special project about the civilizations of the Ancient world. By focusing on a variety of civilizations, they begin to understand how the past has shaped present-day societies, geographies, and current events. Upper Elementary students are allowed to delve into these subjects through challenging guided activities and independent research. This leads them to be ready and eager to have an impact on their surroundings.
11:00 A group of students prepares a shopping list and a budget for the week's lunches.
1:15 A student receives a lesson on algebra. Another is still working through a challenging math problem on her own. Upper Elementary children are allowed to struggle with difficult work, recognizing and enjoying the rewards such struggle brings - and learning persistence.