“Development is a series of rebirths” – Dr. Maria Montessori
“Just when I thought I had my child all figured out, they appear to have changed overnight!” Sound familiar? According to Dr. Maria Montessori’s philosophy, children go through different planes of development as they grow, and during each plane, they are almost like a new or different child.
This can be understandably disconcerting as a parent, but instead of resisting these changes, think of them as a wonderful opportunity to understand how your child is now viewing the world at each stage of their development, and use the information as a parenting tool to offer love, respect and acceptance. Here’s a brief look at what to expect during each one of Montessori’s four planes of developments.
Infancy – 0 to 6 Years Old
- A turbulent time with rapid change.
- An absorbent mind that soaks up anything and everything around them. This can further be split into two sub-categories: the unconscious absorbent mind (0–3) and the conscious absorbent mind (3–6).
- Uses all senses to learn.
- Moves from dependence to collaboration to physical independence. They start to begin to care for their own needs.
- Important to experience a resource-rich environment, freedom to explore, and opportunity to improve language, physical and cognitive skills through play.
Childhood – 6 to 12 Years Old
- Growth slows to become smoother and calmer, but does not pause.
- Moves out of their safe environment, and has an interest in exploring the wider world around them.
- Stronger, more stable and able to work for longer. Need big work to challenge them.
- Use their imagination to understand things that are not in front of them.
- Want to learn about both their own cultures and those of others.
- Start to seek mental independence.
- Moral reasoning emerges.
Adolescence – 12 to 18 Years Old
- A volatile and turbulent time with huge physical and psychological changes.
- Similar to the infancy plane in that they are years of creation, but this time they are not building up to be children, they are building up to adulthood.
- Develop a sense of justice and a sense of personal dignity.
- Enhanced critical thinking for complex scenarios.
- A desire to solve the problems of the world.
- A critical age for psychological weaknesses. Montessori states, “There are doubts and hesitations, violent emotions, discouragements and unexpected decrease in intellectual capacity.”
- The Erdkinder or “Landchildren” approach is encouraged at this stage, where adolescents do productive work that makes them feel valued and as if they have meaningful roles.
Maturity – 18 to 24 Years Old
- A time of smooth, calm change (similar to the second plane).
- Transition to total independence.
- Begin to explore who they are spiritually and emotionally, forming a more cognitive awareness of their identity.
- A strong desire for financial independence and decision-making. A mentality of “I can get it myself”
- Develop to be less individualistic and more socially conscious.
- A specialised, reasoning, logical mind.
- Montessori believes that young adults in this stage should be working while studying to ensure they have a balanced life that involves industry, hard work, and contribution to society.
Want to Know More about Montessori?
If you’d like to take a peek inside a Montessori classroom, or simply learn more about LittleHill, you are welcome to book a tour of your nearest LittleHill Montessori school.