In grades 1–3, expectations for students' academic and social lives are adjusted to account for the growing capabilities and understandings of six to nine-year-olds. Children at this age are becoming ready for more robust intellectual and social interactions.
Children in grade 4 are ready to take on more rigorous academic study and look to their grade 5 peers as models and mentors, and children in grade 5 are encouraged by their teachers to explore and embrace what it means to be a leader in the classroom. This understanding of responsibility is important at this stage of students' development as they prepare for the leadership they will be expected to provide for the entire elementary school in grade 6.
The grade 6 experience prepares students for junior high school by emphasizing personal responsibility, organization, time management, more rigorous intellectual inquiry, leadership, and service to the larger community. Students in grade 6 are expected to be leaders and models for the younger grades, and they live up to those expectations. The curriculum is intentionally more challenging and prepares students for the increased rigor of junior high school.