The First Plane of Development: What

Today, we continue our series on the Montessori Planes of Development with a look at the first plane, spanning from birth to age six.

The first plane can best be described as a time of exploration. As Gretchen Hall, Director of Training at the Montessori Training Center of New England, points out in her 2011 article How Science Fits Into the Whole Montessori Curriculum (The NAMTA Journal, Vol. 36, No. 1, Winter 2011), developmental psychologists have called the infant the “the scientist in the crib.” As a child comes closer to the primary level (2.5–6 years), the need for psychological clarity and order develops. Children at this age are natural explorers who enjoy learning what. Their primary focus is on developing and testing how the world works.

Hall notes that modern science confirms what Montessori discovered over 100 years ago: the child from birth to six has extraordinary intellectual powers given to help in the task of creation. Montessori believed children have an absorbent mind and go through sensitive periods that are optimal times for learning. During the first plane, children have a love for the natural world, refining their skills through coordination activities that aid in the development of concentration. Independence becomes a priority, and they develop a keen sense of order.

Other posts in this series:

The Planes of Development: Developing the Joy of Learning

The Third Plane of Development: How Can I Apply What I Know?

The Second Plane of Development: Why and How

Montessori and Education Reform

Education reform is a consistent topic of debate in local communities and the nation at large.

In her article, Montessori: The Missing Voice in the Education Reform Debate, Laura Flores Shaw, Head of School at Oak Knoll Kinderhaus Montessori, gives a thorough overview of the potential of Montessori as an answer.

I can tell you that the solutions we are all looking for are both simpler and more radical than the noisy debaters would have you believe. We need to do more than reform education. We need to transform it.
– Laura Flores Shaw

Terms You Need to Know as a Parent: Accreditation

Each Wednesday, we’ll share Parent Education posts – content that covers specifics about our school, classroom curriculum, Montessori in the home, and information that’s relevant to parenting in general.

Today we’re beginning a new series: Terms You Need to Know as a Parent. The name “Montessori” can be used by any establishment, regardless of the educational background of the teachers, the curriculum they teach, or the materials they have on the shelves. As parents, the only way you are assured a quality Montessori environment is by viewing accreditation, certification, and licensing credentials, and being informed of what these credentials mean.

Terms You Need to Know as a Parent
Part 1: What does the accreditation process include?

Accredited schools have obtained the highest level of recognition by an accrediting organization. Accreditation is earned through self-studies and a quality review team. Accreditation occurs for programs, not facilities. Organizations such as SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools), IMC (International Montessori Council), AMS (American Montessori Society) or AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) accredit programs only after the program has been validated as being of quality. Our school has earned SACS Accreditation and AMS Accreditation.

Montessori Philosophy: What are the Montessori Planes of Development?

Montessori education is based upon three planes of development: birth to age six, age six to twelve, and age twelve to eighteen. As Gretchen Hall, Director of Training at the Montessori Training Center of New England, described in her 2011 article How Science Fits Into the Whole Montessori Curriculum (The NAMTA Journal, Vol. 36, No. 1, Winter 2011), each plane is a distinctive psychological learning period characterized by the physical and psychological changes that take place during its span, as well as specific environmental needs to support development. The Montessori Method considers the unique needs of each age group by varying focus within each plane of development. In the first plane, the child focuses on the world and the facts. In the second plane, the child focuses on the universe and reason. In the third plane, the adolescent focuses on how to transform society.

Join us next over the next several Mondays as we discuss each Plane of Development and the importance of fostering the joy of learning.

An Introduction to the Montessori Math Curriculum

Have you ever wondered how math is taught in the Montessori classroom? This video, an excerpt from a series by Montessori educational video producer, provides a great overview of the Montessori math curriculum, moving from sensorial work in the primary classroom through concrete and abstract concepts in the elementary environment.

An Introduction to the Montessori Math Curriculum