From the book: CHILD OF THE WORLD: Montessori, Global Education for Age 3-12+ (The Age 6-12 Section) http://www.michaelolaf.net/newsmarch2013.html
Physical Health, Exercise
The years from 6-12 are relatively stable, and the main academic work can be done now. However it is important that the child continues to use her body as well as the mind, to get exercise, to begin to learn and take responsibility for nutrition and health, and to continue practical work such as cooking, gardening, working with tools. Well-grounded healthy habits begun now will go a long way to help the child through the tumultuous years of adolescence.
Academic, Moral, and Social Work
At six, there is a great transformation in the child, like a new birth. The child wants to explore society and the world, to learn what is right and wrong, to think about meaningful roles in society. She wants to know how everything came to be, the history of the universe, the world, humans and why they behave the way they do. He asks the BIG questions and wants answers. These children explore manners (and bad manners!); they are interested in religion and what it means to people in different cultures. It is the time to use the mind to explore all areas of knowledge, to begin to conduct research, and to develop creative ways of processing, exploring, and expressing this knowledge.
A Montessori elementary teacher has spent many months learning to give individual lessons in all academic areas, and to guide the child’s research. Although groups form spontaneously, the main work is still done individually—concentration protected from interruptions by scheduled required groups—the hallmark of Montessori education at all ages. This heals and fulfills the child, and reveals the true human who naturally exhibits the desire to work, help others, and make a difference in the world.
Many teachers who have taught the full 6-12 age span tell us that they prefer this to the newer 6-9 and 9-12 classes. They get to know the children better and they see the advantages of having six years worth of wonderful work to which each child is exposed; it is not just what the child does that results in learning, but what is casually taken in from the work around him.
The most suitable environment for elementary children is the 6-12 (rather than 6-9 and 9-12) age range, younger children developing the skill of organization by seeing how older children go about organized work.
—Kay M. Baker, PhD, AMI Montessori 6-12 Trainer