Children in the second plane of development are also no longer solitary beings. They now tend to gravitate towards others in their environment. Around the age of 6, children begin to become interested in their classmates and are learning how to get along. They start to choose to work with others on projects of mutual interest. By 11 or 12, most students prefer to work with others rather than individually. Keep reading to learn more about the changes during the second plane of development.
The Second Plane of Development: Ages 6-12 - Montessori Philosophy
As they develop, children in the second plane of development also expand their social network. They begin to show a genuine interest in others, whether it is within their local community or in a more global sense of awareness. Montessori elementary programs take advantage of this sensitive period of cultural awareness by providing a wide range of opportunities for children to explore their culture, and that of others, through the study of history, geography, language arts, and the sciences.
Children at the second plane lose their desire for physical order and develop a strong moral sense of order. They have a very strong sense of justice and perceived fairness and following the rules becomes very important. They need good role models as they learn about values.
This is the sensitive period for the imagination, for seeing the possibilities in real experiences. Montessori elementary programs often begin the school year with the telling of the Great Lessons. These five imaginative epics present a holistic vision of knowledge, drawing on material from the various disciplines. They are meant to spur the imagination of elementary students, thus initiating exploration into the curriculum. This Cosmic Education tells how the universe is not a random place or something that “just happened,” but shows how each particle, substance, species, and event has a specific purpose and a contribution to make to the development of others. Dr. Montessori wanted children to understand the amount of gratitude that human beings owe to other parts of the universe and to fully realize that without them and their contributions to the interconnected whole, we could not live.
Between the ages of 6 and 12, children experience great growth physically. However, what stands out greater than their physical growth is their capacity for great mental growth. The Montessori elementary curriculum was created with this in mind. The lower elementary (6-9) curriculum takes advantage of the child’s natural enthusiasm for learning and lays the foundation for skills needed at the next level. The upper elementary curriculum (9-12) not only focuses on the acquisition of knowledge, but adds a level of thoughtfulness by inspiring children to think and question.
In the second plane, children will reason about what has become part of their lives through the power of imagination and intelligence. They need to hear stories of greatness and goodness and moral values. The mind of the elementary child concerns itself with building a conscience, that inner sense of what is right and wrong. During this period of growth, they need to know that the adults in their lives love, respect, and understand them.
NAMC offers a complete range of Montessori Lower Elementary (6-9) and Upper Elementary (9-12) curriculum resources.
Related NAMC Blogs:
- The First Plane of Development: Birth to Age 6 - Montessori Philosophy
- The Five Great Lessons for Montessori Elementary: An Introduction and Lesson Idea List
- Montessori Elementary Curriculum: The Purpose of the Five Great Lessons Explained
- Montessori Elementary Curriculum: When to Tell The Five Great Lessons
- Montessori Elementary Curriculum: Preparation for The Five Great Lessons
- Montessori Elementary Curriculum: Cosmic Education and the Five Great Lessons
- Montessori and Imagination: the Second Plane of Development
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, July 3, 2007.