Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children in Montessori classes learn at their own, individual pace and according to their own choice of activities from hundreds of possibilities. Learning is an exciting process of discovery, leading to concentration, motivation, self-discipline, and a love of learning. Montessori classes place children in multi-age groups, forming communities in which the older children spontaneously share their knowledge with the younger ones. Montessori represents an entirely different approach to education.
In Montessori classrooms, lessons are typically presented to small groups of children, who are then free to follow up with independent work of their own as interest and personal responsibility dictate. The scope of lessons and work in the Elementary classroom is quite broad. Dr. Montessori used the term "cosmic education" to indicate both the universal scope of lessons to be presented, and the idea that education in the second plane should help the child realize the human role in the interdependent functioning of the universe. Classroom materials and lessons include work in language, mathematics, history, the sciences, the arts, and much more. Student directed explorations of resources outside the classroom, known as "going out" in Montessori, are an integral element of the Elementary work.