The Planes of Development
We must, then, constantly bear in mind this fact that the growth of the child, from birth to maturity, is not like that of an oak tree which grows by simply getting bigger, but is rather to be compared with that of the butterfly; for we have to do with different types of mind at different periods. --Standing, E.M. Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work, p. 108
|Young child (0-3)|
Image taken from: http://pacificriminternationalschool.org
|Primary children (3-6) working on a Puzzle Map of Asia|
She also drew attention to the fact that development is not an even process—sometimes it moves quickly, sometimes it stagnates. The nature of development changes and the way a person experiences each plane depends on the foundation of the earlier plane. For example, if a child has his needs met at a given plane, he has a strong foundation on which to take advantage of the new experiences on the next plane. If a child does not get what she needs in a particular plane, the results can be seen in the next plane. If the needs are not met at the proper time, this impacts the whole life of the person.
|Elementary (6-12) children working on the Timeline of Life|
Each of the planes can be further divided into two sub planes. Generally, the greatest changes take place in the first half of the plane and the second half is spent trying to strengthen and crystallize the experiences of the first half. The first and third planes have a lot in common in that they are both times of dramatic transformation. The human being goes from a fragile, helpless newborn to a walking, talking self-sufficient toddler in the space of three years. Children in both the first and third planes have a lot of sensitivities and are extremely fragile—they need lots of rest and get sick very easily. Similarly, the second and fourth planes are also closely related as they are periods of relative calm and stability.
|Adolescents (12-15) at work|
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