The stages of growing up explained
The Montessori approach: the stages of development from infancy to maturity explained
If you have not read the previous post on this blog, “Maria Montessori’s Four Planes of Development”, perhaps you should pause here and read that one first. Then come back and read this post. I will further explain the characteristics of each stage of development discovered by Maria Montessori.
INFANCY 0-6 years: the first plane of development
It is the creative period by far. It is also a period of growth and new conquests. The child’s mind remains the same more or less with some differences. This is the period where the child’s personality is created and the psyche formed. The child is influenced by examples and the external environment. During this period the child wants to gain physical and biological independence from their parents. The absorbent mind is also active during the whole period.
This stage has two sub-stages:
✔️ from 0-3 years old (early infancy)
Creative period of physical and psychological/psychic growth. Development of separate functions: we acquire language, movement and certain types of sensory development. Children are sensitive learners which means that they use all their senses to explore the world around them. This world is inaccessible to the adult who can not exert any type of influence. This period is impossible to remember due to it being experienced unconsciously.
The child absorbs the environment using an unconscious intelligence and learns by observing everything that surrounds them. In fact, the child absorbs information completely unconsciously and without any effort with an unconscious, absorbent mind.
✔️ from 3 – 6 years old (late infancy)
This period sees the development of functions created in the previous stage via conscious experiences that the child experiences in the environment. The child exerts her will on the environment and completes his first task of being human by perfecting her conquests. The hand, guided by intelligence, becomes a fundamental part of building character. Imitation of adult activity.
It is very important to provide an environment created especially for the child and for the possibility of developing the senses. The child starts asking why and how about everything around him. In this period the child becomes a conscious learner by using the conscious absorbent mind.
CHILDHOOD 6-12 years: the second plane of development
This phase is one of growth but transformation as well. It is usually experienced as a period of calmness, serenity and psychological stability. It is a period of cultural acquisition. Children are curious and ask why things happen. They begin to develop independent thought about the world. In fact this period is working on mental independence and developing the moral sense.
Collaboration is also fundamental during this age. Children love to collaborate in groups and to work with their peers. Children are also very imaginative at this stage, using their imagination to explore the world.
Maria Montessori drew up a program called Cosmic Education for this very reason. It helps the individual develop the knowledge that the human species as whole has its place in the universe and has a role that must be assumed for the good of all. This is called a “cosmic task”. They also begin to develop independent thought about the world. In fact this period is spent working on mental independence and the development of morals.
Collaboration is also fundamental during this age; children love to collaborate in groups and to work with their peers. They are also very imaginative at this stage, using their imagination to explore the world.
ADOLESCENCE 12-18 years: the third plane of development
It is a period of adolescence with important psychological and physical change. So much that it can be compared to the first stage (0-6 years old). The love of one’s own country and a social conscience are produced in this stage. The child feels the need to engage in practical activities and be in contact with their children of their age. The teenager is working on social independence and moving away from their families.
This stage has two sub-stages:
✔️ from 12- 15 years old
At around the age of twelve, a new stage that can result in a profound transformation – both psychological and physical – takes place. There can be instability regarding the child’s personality, rebellion and a lack of discipline. There is the importance of the child becoming part of society and the development of a sense of responsibility and collaboration with others.
✔️ from 15 – 18 years old
The physical and psychological transformations continue, as do the instability of the individual’s personality. This growth leads to a higher level of maturity that will lead the individual to becoming an adult and accepting a growing amount of responsibility while becoming totally independent from their parents.
The perfect learning environment for a teenager (12-18 years), proposed by Maria Montessori, is an Erdkinder, or a farm school. Teenagers are actively involved in working the land, cleaning, cooking, selling goods at the market, and figuring out their place in a social group.
MATURITY 18-24 years: the fourth plane of development
This is a more stable period, where the young adults want to give back to society. They want to enter college, join the workforce or work as volunteers. They have a logical mind, a lot of areas of interest to explore and many friends to spend time with.
During this period the young adults are working on developing spiritual and moral independence. If everything has gone smoothly in the first three stages of development, the individual will be naturally motivated by the desire to be useful in society and do their best to reach their goals.
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