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”.
THE FOUR PLANES OF DEVELOPMENT
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
Quote by Maria Montessori:
“Sow the seeds of culture…
How many?…As many as possible”.
The construction of the individual takes place. It is the HORME within the child, that forces to learn and act like a human being. It urges the child on to construct himself – it makes the child a humen being.
(HORME – n. Psychology, vital energy directed to in active purpose. hormic, a. hormist, n believer in horme as fundamental psychological factor.)
The tendencies for exploration, orientation and order are manifested as the child develops his sensory organs.
Society needs freedom to carry out movements to fulfill the tendencies.
The child in this plane needs freedom and limits:
- freedom for movement – exploration.
- develop a taste of what it means to be human.
Limits are responsability:
- conform to family life.
- rules are set for the good of everyone
- safeguards rather than prohibitions
So if the child is understood and helped during this years from 0 – 3, than the years from 3 – 6 can take the concious individual and develop that potential that has been founded.
Dr. Montessori said,
“Trust the spontaneous, organizing power of the human intellect”.
“The human mind works by itself, moved by a power within.”
Each plane displays different characteristics and needs to be treated accordingly.
The first and the secound plane are the stage of childhood, the third and the fourth plane the stage of adult hood. There are parallels between the first and the third periods. They are the periods of greatest physical growth and transformation. The second and the fourth peiod have the parallels of great internal growth and development.
The greatest change occurs during the first three years in both planes (0-3)(12-15). The secound three years strengthen and customize, perfect and stabilize then growth and tranformation that took place during the first three years.