The Montessori Elementary Program provides for the strong reasoning, imagining and very social individual who comes into being between 5-7 years of age and remains so until puberty. Whereas the younger child is a sensorial explorer whose mind absorbs, the elementary child is a intellectual explorer whose mind reasons, imagines, judges, projects. This is the age when, developmentally, the mind strives for what Montessori call the "Cosmic View": seeing the whole scope of life and each element's place and task within that scope, including the place itself. The children devour classification schemes (botany, zoology, historical timelines, geometric formulas, etc.) as they become more research oriented, creative, group minded, morally responsible and adept at solving their own problems.
Because students work at their own pace and enjoy group projects, competition is not fostered in the classroom. Children relate to their own work, and progress is not compared to the achievements of others. Dr. Montessori believed that competition in education should be introduced only after children have gained confidence in their use of the basic skills. "Never let a child at risk failure," she wrote, "until he has a reasonable chance of success."