As the child changes, so must the method of education. Lessons for the child from six to twelve years of age are no longer exclusively individual. Now the group lesson predominates. In addition, the categories of work expand. The five divisions of the Primary environment become seven at the Elementary level. These divisions are: Geography, History, Mathematics, Geometry, Language, Botany and Zoology. All subjects are tied together through the Great Lessons.
The story of the beginning of the universe and of its continual evolution is an example of a Great Lesson given to the Elementary child. This lesson, presented in story form, provides a basis for the geography, history, botany, and zoology work that follows. Great Lessons do more than interconnect fact. They capture the child’s imagination, spark the child’s curiosity, and generate concentrated work. The Elementary child has entered a period of heightened receptivity to intellectual learning. For this reason, the Elementary curriculum stresses a rigorous academic program.
The work of the Elementary child is social as well as academic. Driven by a desire to become part of society, the child needs an environment that allows for social interaction and development. Lessons that encourage the children to work together in a non-competitive atmosphere allow them to practice creating and functioning in a harmonious world and to participate actively, enthusiastically, and responsibly in the world around them.