Maria Montessori’s Four Planes of Development

ID: 433

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.

How to Learn Montessori Through Homeschooling – Recommended

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

The Montessori Method (Illustrated Edition)
In “The Montessori Method,” Maria Montessori introduces a scientific approach to pedagogy. The Montessori schools which she established and developed are intended for children three to seven years of age. The children are allowed as much freedom as possible and are provided with "didactic materials" which are various artifacts which they can use to educate themselves. They are supervised by a single directress whose primary task is to observe the children and direct their efforts by explaining to them how various didactic materials are used (it's very simple, but nothing is obvious to a young child). This book offers some valuable concrete advice, but its primary use to me was as an introduction to the approach of scientific pedagogy. The basic premises of the Montessori Method are that (1) children have a natural desire to learn and (2) one can learn how to live in freedom only by being free. These premises are fully supported and fleshed out in the book. The Montessori method achieved startling results, with four year old children (on average) learning to be masters of themselves, disciplined, benevolent, self-confident, and capable of reading and writing. Every educator should be familiar with Maria Montessori's work. This particular edition includes the illustrations from an early printing.

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