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Montessori in a Minute: the First Plane of Development

What is the First Plane of Development?

The first plane of development is where we most clearly see a child’s absorbent mind. In her book titled Absorbent Mind, Dr Montessori wrote, "There is in the child a special kind of sensitivity which leads him to absorb everything about him, and it is this work of observing and absorbing that alone enables him to adapt himself to life."


For children aged 0 to 3, all learning is done outside of their conscious mind. They use their senses to explore the world around them. All knowledge is acquired through simply existing in their environment. They learn to speak and move by listening, watching, and imitating.


Children aged 3 to 6 are able to learn through their conscious mind. They have more control over their bodies and learn intentionally. They enjoy hands-on activities and find purpose in completing the steps involved in Practical Life lessons in their classrooms. Independence, coordination, concentration, and a sense of order are main characteristics that your child will display in this period.


The Importance of the First Plane of Development

A child’s motto in the first plane of development is, “I can do it myself!” This desire for independence opens the child up to several “sensitive periods” where they are more open to specific types of learning.

  • Birth to age 1: movement

  • Birth to age 6: language

  • Age 2 to 6: music, grace and courtesy, and refining their senses

  • Age 3 to 5: reading and writing

  • Age 4 to 6: spatial relationships and mathematics


"How does he achieve this independence? He does it by means of a continuous activity. How does he become free? By means of constant effort. We know that development results from activity." - Dr. Maria Montessori


The Montessori in a Minute Series

Montessori schools have at least five key areas of learning in the Montessori environment: Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, and Culture. This Montessori In A Minute series regularly explores the unique benefits of Montessori philosophy, its fundamental materials, and areas of the classroom. For all parents at Hudson Montessori School (Jersey City, New Jersey), the school hosts several Parent Education Nights a year to learn all about the Montessori method and how the students learn curriculum components using a Montessori framework.


To learn more about Hudson Montessori School’s interdisciplinary, theme-based learning approach to education, the Montessori philosophy and methodology, or how the school fosters the love of learning for children age 2 to fifth grade, sign up for virtual school tour or for more details about our Middle School, attend a Middle School Information Session.




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