LIVABLE LEARNING - Preparing the Home and the Heart
Planes of Development

"Help us, O God to enter into the secret of childhood, so that we may know, love, and serve the child in accordance with the laws of Thy holy justice and follow Thy holy will."     (Maria Montessori)


Maria Montessori, based on her scientific observations of children, developed Four Planes of Developmental Growth for the child. She concluded that a child's growth is more like that of a butterfly, with a number of critical transformations in the first six years, followed by a period of uniform growth while the mind is "being organized" in the intermediate stage of childhood, ages 6-12. Repeated again is another period of transition during the ages of 12-18 followed by a period of uniform growth, with the child not reaching adulthood until age 24. Each formative plane lays the foundation for the next successive plane. 
I personally have applied an "Age of Moral Virtues" to each Plane of Development:

Age of Prudence  (0-6 yo)
  • Construction of the Physical
  • Concrete Plane
  • Learns with Absorbent Mind (learning: 0-3 unconscious, 3-6 conscious)
  • Sensitive Periods where learning is faster or easier
  • Fundamental to the formation of the individual
  • Basis for other virtues - helps us to accomplish good in the practical order

Age of Temperance  (6-12 yo)
  • Construction of the Intelligence
  • Cosmic Plane
  • Learns through reasoning, with imagination and logic
  • "The Bridge" to Abstraction - intellectual mind is organized
  • Wants to learn about the Universe and its Creation - Great Lessons, unit studies
  • This virtue develops a sense of moderation and appreciation of the world's gifts

Age of Justice  (12-18 yo)
  • Construction of the Social & Moral
  • Cultural Plane
  • Find their place in society - typical Montessori student will have a High School education by the age of 12
  • Creation of the Adult
  • Erdkinder:  Children of the Land - live as borders at a farm and form their own community working the farm, store, hotel... Comparable to apprenticeship, family business
  • Virtue that forms the consciousness of fairness and honesty to do right to God and neighbor

Age of Fortutude  (18-24 yo)
  • Construction of the Spiritual
  • Conscience & Discernment Plane
  • Spiritual emergence into adulthood - to find one's place and function in the world
  • Virtue that enables one to stand up for what is good and true and the courage to do what God wants, to answer one's calling to vocation