While hands on learning continues as a hallmark of the Montessori educational experience, the Upper Elementary student is moving increasingly toward the ability to analyze and understand in the abstract. Concrete materials are used to represent concepts but now they become a springboard for more subtle and evocative lessons. The Upper Elementary-aged child begins to study the nuances and applications of their knowledge of facts. In math, they hypothesize and use math facts to discern solutions. In writing, they use their understanding of the process and their expanding language to explore expressive styles. Reading and comprehension skills continue to grow through research. Cultural studies and science are integrated into the curriculum with study fueled by the natural drive to question and seek answers. And the arts remain imbedded in the day-to-day lives of the community.
The Upper Elementary student continues to work at their own pace and study the full range of curricula. They continue to explore with guidance from a trained adult. But now they search for answers to larger questions and have a broader base of knowledge and experience from which to draw. They take on greater responsibility for their studies and the management of their time. They take on greater responsibility for care of their community and for their role within the social harmony of the class.