Elementary education is the first stage of formalized education. In most cases children begin elementary education at the age of six, however this varies from country to country. For any child, the initial years of schooling become a gateway to the real world. However, it is important to remember that early elementary education should still retain its focus on learning through play and interaction with peers. At this age such activities pave the way for future growth and development. During these formative years children learn to share and cooperate with others, as well as to participate in group work and make joint decisions.