There are four planes of development that human beings go through from birth to adulthood:
The 1st plane is a period of transformation divided into 0-3 the absorbent mind (unconscious creator), 3-6 the absorbent mind (conscious creator) during this plane most of the human characteristics are fixed and it is essential to provide the child with the opportunity to develop these naturally.
“The children of three years of age in the “Children’s Houses” learn and carry out such work as sweeping, dusting, making things tidy, setting the table for meals, waiting at table, washing the dishes, etc. and at the same time they learn to attend to their own personal needs, to wash themselves, to take showers, to comb their hair, to take a bath, to dress and undress themselves, to hang up their clothes in the wardrobe, or to put them in drawers, to polish their shoes . These exercises are part of the method of education, and do not depend on the social position of the pupils; even in the “Children’s Houses” attended by rich children who are given every kind of assistance at home, and who are accustomed to being surrounded by a crowd of servants, take part in the exercises of practical life . This has a truly educational, not utilitarian purpose. The reaction of the children may be described as a “burst of independence” of all unnecessary assistance that suppresses their activity and prevents them from demonstrating their own capacities. It is just – these “independent” children of ours who learn to write at the age of four and a half years, who learn to read spontaneously, and who amaze everyone by their progress in arithmetic.” (From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 66)
The 2nd plane; 6-12 a period of uniform growth and great stability. Children are capable of great intellectual learning and have an intense desire to explore the concepts of social justice (the age of intellect and social justice).
The 3rd plane; 12-18 years is another period of transformation.
12-15 strongly resembles the 0-3 period in the 1st plane. There are numerous physical and emotional changes with the onset of puberty. The child is extremely sensitive to all aspects of their life as a social being and we need to be very concerned about their self- esteem. They are also interested in gaining financial/economic independence.
15- 18 the adolescent phase continues with more intellectual stimulation, again, being presented to the child.
The 4th plane; 18-24 years, Transformation no longer takes place, an adult is being formed.
The prepared environment helps facilitate this learning for the child. Each stage of development requires a suitable environment prepared with needs of that plane in mind. The prepared environment is set-up to help the child create themselves through experiences. This environment consists of Montessori materials placed on open shelving, inviting the child to manipulate and experience the concepts each piece of equipment offers. These materials assist the child in developing their gross and fine motor skills in order to work.
The hand has now become the instrument of the brain; and it is through the activity of his hands that he enriches his experience, and develops himself at the same time. – Maria Montessori.
The environment gives the child an opportunity to discover the world and then the universe.
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