Planes of Development
“The child's development follows a path of successive stages of independence, and our knowledge of this must guide us in our behaviour towards him…”
—Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
Developmental Periods - Not Grades
It was Dr. Montessori's observation that development in the human being falls into four "planes", each of which has its own particular characteristics and regulates the child’s growth into adulthood. Montessori education is organized to match a child's specific needs and tendencies as determined by these phases of development. Classes therefore, are structured and grouped not simply by chronological age, but according to similar developmental needs.
The Young Children’s Community
(for children from 18 months who are walking steadily)
The Montessori Young Children’s Community encourages the child to develop relationships with adults and children outside of the immediate family, offering opportunities beyond those typically available in a family home. Developing these relationships helps to build social skills and assists the child in developing an understanding of their relationship to the greater community and environment. The Young Children’s Community offers opportunities for social interaction, independence and self-expression, as well as small and large motor development. within a setting that contains distinct areas for preparing food, eating, changing clothes, toileting, group activities, individual work and quiet moments.
Casa dei Bambini
(for children from 3 to 6 +years)
Children aged two and a half to six years possess what Dr. Montessori called the "absorbent mind": a mind that has the unique ability to absorb all aspects of the environment without effort or fatigue. During this stage of development the children are sensorial explorers, constructing their intellect by absorbing every aspect of their environment, language and culture. In order to maximize this ability, a rich physical
environment, containing key developmental materials is provided, in which the child is free to undertake the task of self- construction. Classes are structured to allow for a three-hour morning work cycle, allowing the children to engage in concentrated activity and to work in a focused and uninterrupted manner. Older children staying for the extended day benefit from the additional time to work with more challenging material and to further develop their concentration and social skills. A limited number of spaces are available for children who are not ready for the extended day but whose parents require full day care.
(for children from 6 to 12 years)
Dr. Montessori's vision for the elementary aged child builds on the primary (Casa) experience, but reflects a new stage of development. As with the previous stage, she developed a pedagogy supported by a clear set of principles and practices to implement her vision. This she termed "Cosmic Education”: offering the child the keys to a vision of the universe. "Cosmic Education" is a specific and prescribed approach to the developmental needs of the six to twelve year old child.It is Maria Montessori School's goal to implement the program in as authentic and accurate manner as possible. Hallmarks of the traditional private school, such as compulsory homework, standardized testing, uniforms and specialists are all avoided. Instead, in an invigorating research style of learning, elementary children work in small groups, on a variety of projects which spark the imagination and engage the intellect.
Maria Montessori School 125 Brentcliffe Rd., Toronto, Ontario. M4G 3Y7