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Montessori in a Minute: The Second Plane of Development

What Is the Second Plane of Development?

Dr. Maria Montessori believed that a child’s development occurs in four planes or stages; each with their own clear and defining characteristics. Each stage of development is marked by “sensitive periods” where the child is suited for specific types of learning. Montessori classrooms are designed to support and appeal to each sensitive period.

The Second Plane of Development takes place between the ages of 6 and 12. It is marked by all of the classic milestones we associate with true “childhood”: imaginative play and fantasy, formation of personal interests, and the start of “big ideas.”

This period of development is full of exciting landmarks in education. Students begin to ask deeper questions and have the ability to seek out the resources needed to answer them. They are able to carry out larger projects over longer periods of time. They also start carving out their place in social groups and express interest in culture and classic social structures.

The First Plane of Development has prepared children to grasp the concepts for Cosmic Education, where they learn the interconnectedness of all things, history, and culture. Cosmic Education teaches broadly about the universe, and granularly about how each particle, substance, species, and event makes a specific contribution for humanity and our makeup as individuals. Students are taught that our world and universe isn’t something random, but a place full of important intricacies to study and discover.

The Importance of the Second Plane of Development

A child’s social network explodes during this plane of development. Learning is no longer a solitary activity. Students gravitate toward their classmates and form deep friendships with peers from school and extracurricular activities. At this age, children choose activities for themselves that they enjoy and are interested in learning about. They spend time mastering their personal interests and often form friendships with other children with similar interests and goals. By age 11 or 12, most students prefer working collaboratively on schoolwork and personal projects, rather than completing them on their own.

The strong need for physical order is replaced at this stage with a new need for moral order. Children begin to learn and adhere to social norms and form deep rooted ideals of right and wrong. They hold very strong opinions on justice and perceived fairness and place emphasis on following rules, especially during games and play.

This Second Plane of Development is full of physical and mental growth. Children exit the absorbent mind stage, exploring their conscious mind. They are discovering new knowledge about themselves, the world around them, and how they can carve out a place for themselves in it.

"An inner change has taken place, but nature is quite logical in arousing now in the child not only a hunger for knowledge and understanding, but a claim to mental independence, a desire to distinguish good from evil by his own powers, and to resent limitation by arbitrary authority. In the field of morality, the child now stands in need of his own inner light.” —Dr. Maria Montessori

The Montessori in a Minute Series

Montessori schools center around 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.

The second plane of development is a period full of social collaboration. Two students work together on a coloring page before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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