The Four Planes of Development


Maria Montessori believed that the development of a person could be divided into four planes:

0 - 6 - EARLY CHILDHOOD - Construction of the Physical Person (The Absorbent Mind ) - Independence, Coordination, Concentration, Order

6 - 12 - CHILDHOOD - Construction of the Intelligence - Imagination, Socialization, Moral Justice

12-18 - ADOLESCENCE - Construction of Social Self - Trust, Self Expression, Analytical Thought, Commitment and Responsibility

18-24 - ADULTHOOD - Construction of Self Understanding

Although each and every child develops at his own pace, there are certain guidelines we can follow when observing the child’s development. These may be referred to as sensitive periods.

Montessori's theory on human development considers both physical and psychological development. This can be seen when you look at each of the four stages independently. Each plane is around six years in length and achieves an aspect of independence.

For optimal development to occur during any Plane, three conditions are

o A prepared environment that meets the needs and tasks of that plane
o The opportunity and freedom to act in that environment towards self-construction
o An adult/guide who can assist facilitating activity within the prepared environment

Once sensitive periods have passed, its powers to motivate development under optimal conditions also pass. Although it will be possible to learn whatever is missed
later in life, it will never be learned with such ease as when it is learned in the appropriate stage of development.

Each child develops at slightly different stages which is why multiage environments are a key to a successful montessori environment.

Maria Montessori presented her view on development as a continuum with each phase necessary to the next. A child who will become a contributing member to society needs a strong foundation on which they can construct who they are meant to become.

In following blogs we will delve deeper into each plane of development and what each one holds for the child.

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  • Rebecca Grugan
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