The Four Planes of Development II


The four Planes (or phases) of development is an overall vision of Montessori’s
developmental psychology from infancy to adulthood. Her vision of the whole of
development and growth was not her own. It provides a holistic view of the developing human being and explains the constant Montessori idea of the importance of education as a “help to life”. `

The four Planes of development define the stages of human growth from birth to biological maturity. Each stage lasts approximately six years and a different set of psychological characteristics can be observed in each stage.

Human tendencies manifest according to these characteristics. Sensitive periods guide each stage of development and are most pronounced in the first stage.

Infancy 0 – 6 years

During birth to age six the child develops his psyche and makes great physical changes.

6 – 12 years
Adolescence 12 – 18 yearsAges twelve to eighteen are a period of intense physical and psychic change. During this period the construction of the individual in relation to society occurs.
Twelve years of age is a line of demarcation. What happens before is considered to be the age of childhood and what happens after is preparation of adulthood. This is when the youth accomplishes the transformation into the adult member of the species and creates a social self who will assume the role of contributor to society itself.

12 – 18 years

Maturity 18-24 years

Sow the Seeds

Quote by Maria Montessori:

“Sow the seeds of culture…

How many?…As many as possible”.


Mario Montessori said: “…the prepared environment should…reflect that amount of organization and order necessary for community to function properly”.

There are similarities betwenn the Primary/Children’s House and the Elementary/Primary environments:

  1. order
  2. ecstatic
  3. clearly defined workspace
  4. inclusion of plants and animals

Both environments serve the needs of each child and provides for the manifestation of the tendencies for each plane.

3 to 6

  • Contains anything needed for the development within a safe and protected environment.
  • The adult/teacher sets the ground rules for maintenance and preservation of the environment.
  • The adult needs to gradually show and make them understand the the rules so they can implement them themselves.

6 to 12

  • The childrenneed both, classroom and the outside world to fullfill their needs.
  • The adult/teacher together with the children form and build the rules for the maintenance and preservation of the environment.
  • The children practice and gradually take more and more responsibility.


The 2nd plane child is interested in how the world came to be.

We give them the keys to their imagination.

The child can use this imagination to reconstruct the past, see the present and visualize the future. He/She can identify the mistakes that have been made and give possibility for correction.

The information given needs to be clear and limited to what is essential. It needs to be related to their interest in life, their questions and their seeking intellects.

It all should give a vision of creation and the human kind.

Examples of humans that personify compashion and serenity in their efforts to change the course of time, should be given as much as possible. It is important to appeal to the spirit of the child and not just the senses.

All this information, lessons, stories and facts are told to give keys for the child’s own exploration.

Montessori called this

“giving the seeds to be sown”




Dr. Montessori said…

“The Universe is a imposing reality and an answer to all questions.

We shall walk together on this path of life for all things are part of this Universe and connected to each other, to form one whole unity.”

The Human Tendencies

Montessori education is in its essence a study of the “nature of a human being”, a process of a formation and conception throughout life.

Two unique gifts are given to the human being

  1. The intellect – reasonning mind
  2. The will – love

These two gifts allow the tendencies to construct the human uniqueness. The tendencies are factors that operate the vehicles of the intellect, enabling the human to learn about and understand his environment.

Aristotle said…

“Education should be based scientifically on the observation of

human beings”

The Firts Plane 3 – 6

By the end of the first plane of development, the child should have constructed him/her self as individual entity. Now the child is a member of the group and should have had the opportunity to work individually.

The “Casa dei Bambini” should provide the child with “the keys to the world”. The world is made out of qualities and facts, which are represented in the “Casa dei Bambini”.

  • The teacher presents the point of interest and the child chooses when he is ready for performance.
  • The sensorial materials provide the child with the keys to the world.
  • It allows the child to work again and again, to repeat until the mind is able to make the abstraction

During the second sub stage, the child needs to be helped to…

  • gain more and more control of him self and his activities.
  • gain greater power of equilibrium and instinct.
  • be exposed to more and more challenges.
  • to reach the final state, the total control of movement.

The five main points in “Practical life”

  1. Real life
  2. Culturally appropriate
  3. No fantasy play
  4. Grace and courtesy
  5. Movement


(HORME – n. Psychology, vital energy directed to in active purpose. hormic, a. hormist, n believer in horme as fundamental psychological factor.)