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Planes of Development

In the first plane of development (0-6 years), we find the following sensitive periods: Movement, Order, Development of the senses, Love of the environment, Details and Language. Children ask the question "What is it?" at this developmental stage.

The second plane of development (6-12 years) is characterized by the question "Why?" The child wants to know the why of things. This child passes from the sensorial world to the abstract world where the moral sense emerges and a love for the group in which he belongs develops; a group of his/her equals and peers. We also find the sensitive period for culture. The child's environment is no longer limited to that of his/her daily life.

The third plane of development (12-18 years) is the difficult period of adolescence. The child will search for an ideal model to follow. It is a period of instability. The child will strive for independence and social growth; their focus is on community, relationships, and a larger, greater environment. The central question becomes "How do I fit in?"

The last plane of development is that of maturity (18-24 years). The main characteristic of this plane is centered on the individual living life fully and expressing himself as part of the society in which he lives. Developmentally speaking, this person may ask "Why am I here?" and "How far can I go?"

Maria Montessori's approach to education from birth to maturity was based upon her observations of the developing child. Montessori education is based on recognizing the needs of the child and responding to these needs. Dr. Montessori believed we should always follow the child by helping him to satisfy his developmental urges.