CHILDHOOD (6 – 12)

This is a “calm phase of uniform growth” in which the abstract mind is organized. The child’s mental and physical horizons open up and there is no limit to what the child can explore if the opportunities are there and conditions are favorable.

For this plane of development, Montessori emphasized an expansive education, a vastness of culture, wider social contacts and the open environment. This child wants to explore the whole question of morality, and can, together with other children, build social groups that are organized with rules to be governed by and work to be done.

The child of the second plane is eager for knowledge and understanding of the world built by Nature and mankind. He/She is endowed with the power of imagination, abstract thought and reasoning and physical strength.

0 – 6 – The Child Works for his/her Own Development

The Child’s play is really work

the child works for his/her own development. All the separate embryonic developments, which occurred from 0-3 years, must in the end, function together and become integrated so as to serve the individual personality. This is what is happening in the period for 3-6, when the hands are working, guided by the mind. When the environment offers motives for constructive activity, all energies concentrate together. With freedom to develop normally, we see the true personality of the child emerge.

This is what Montessori called the ‘Normalised‘ child. During, and as a result of the process of normalisation, the child develops character quite spontaneously. Montessori identifies the period from three to six years of age as the ’embryonic period for the formation of character’.

The Four Planes of Development 12 – 18 – “Adolesence Turmoil”

Late adolescence is turmoil. During this time, age twelve to eighteen years others become more important. Little by little they leave the family, first emotionally then physically.
This is hard on parents. Parents are asked to see the adult in the child. Parents need to change how they talk. What was appropriate before is not anymore. The children are being reborn (powerful hormonal changes are occurring) and are very insecure. They see adulthood coming and are very interested in themselves.

All children at this age have an inferiority complex. They are convinced they are being watched. They imagine everyone is looking at them. They don’t have a stable inside or outside anymore. It is also a very idealistic time. They need to be exposed to heroes and idealists. They want to know they have a role to play. They respond to people who make a difference.

The hardest part in our society is that they are seen as useless. Society is telling them there is no place for them until they get older. The way out for this is often the arts, music and drama.

This is the time that the child develops significant relationships with other adults. There is a decrease in IQ during this period. The child has a decreased interest in academic learning when they are really growing and going through great physical changes.

It is a time to train for self-sufficiency. Connect lessons with practical, concrete experiences. This is a good time to learn about the independence and interdependence of nature.

The Four Planes of Development 6 – 12, The “Social Self”

In the second plane, the six – twelve year old is in a stage of consolidation and relative stability. It is a time of great energy. It is generally a hard and strong period.
Exploration out into the nature and society can begin. It is a time of loosing teeth. At nine some children loose their molars. New teeth allow the child to eat bigger food. The power to abstract and the intellect grows tremendously.

All other factors sink into insignificance as compared to exploring the world by feeding the intellect. It is during the second plane that a sense of time develops. This plane is when the child makes collections. It is also the time of the herd instinct, an indication of a growing social self. This is a time of moral development and fairness is a big issue. It is a time for teaching children how to work things out and how to cooperate. It is also a time of hero worship and a time when maximum effort is put forth in the physical, mental and social area.
The children have still a deep connection with the family.

The Four Planes of Development III

At the age of three, a new consciousness appears clearly and fully. It is as though the child’s life is beginning again, but this time as a “conscious creator”. The child now wants to master his or her environment and exercise his/her will. The child is always busy doing something with his/her hands, guided by intelligence. `

  • The first and third planes are times of great creativity, construction and transformation of the human.
  • The second and fourth planes are whole periods of consolidation of the preceding periods. It is a time when the child more firmly establishes, uses and enlarges upon the skills they have learned. The fourth is also when the child is in training for and working on identifying his life work as well as becoming a part of society. We have all of our teeth, by age twenty- four.

The first stage of development is the stage of the absorbent mind. It is a very powerful time of construction and self-adaptation to the Child’s time, place and culture.

The Four Planes of Develolpment 0 – 3 The “unconcious creator”

This is the Plane of fundamental importance for the formation of the individual. The infant from 0-3 is identified by Montessori as a “Spiritual Embryo”, as the infant has, within him/herself “potentials”, which determine his or her development, seen as empty vessels, waiting to be filled with knowledge, language, intellect and culture.

There exists within this inert being, a global power, a human creative essence, which drives her or him to form a human being, of his time, civilization and associated culture. The newborn child has to perform formative work, which corresponds in the psychological sphere, to the one just done by the embryo in the physical sphere. In this psycho-embryonic period, various powers develop separately and independently of each other i.e. arm and leg movements, sensory movements, language etc. At this stage, there is no unity in the personality. Montessori called the infant from 0-3 the “unconscious creator”.