Dr. Maria Montessori, Italy’s first woman physician, observed children over many years and in various cultures. Her observations led her to develop a philosophy for education, referred to as the Montessori Method. This method includes the prepared environment, a teacher understanding of the Montessori method and philosophy, and age appropriate materials which guide the children in their learning.
Montessori believed in following the child to his or her own potential. She believed that children learn best by being active participants in their own education, rather than having a teacher who imparts knowledge in a “traditional” manner. Furthermore, Montessori believed that children learn best in multi-age classrooms. This allows children to not only learn from each other, but also to have opportunities to help one another. Thus, the Montessori classroom facilitates building the children’s confidence and self-esteem, while enabling them to feel capable and valued.
Dr. Montessori’s observations led her to divide the children’s educational and psychological growth and development from childhood to adulthood into four planes of development; 0-6 years, 6-12 year, 12-18 years, and 18-24 years. Below is an overview of Montessori’s Four Planes of Development.
Age 0-6 years: The First Plane of Development
-sensitive period for development of language
-sensitive period for physical order
-prefers to work alone
Age 6-12 years: The Second Plane of Development
-sensitive period for social order and relationships
-sensitive to moral justice and fairness
-imagination and reasoning skills develop
-prefers to work in groups
Age 12-18 years: The Third Plane of Development
-sensitive period for exploring the world on her own
-needs to experiment
-extreme social sentiment
-strong sense of independence from adults
Age 18-24 years: The Fourth Plane of Development
-knows how to make choices and choose appropriate actions for oneself
-strives for peace and justice
-strives to achieve her ideals
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