Skip to main content

Montessori Planes of Development -- First Plane 3-6

Nora, Henry, and Augustus are not all that far apart in age - a little over 5.5 years separates the three of them. But, in this moment in time, they are all so distinctly different, especially from a development standpoint. 

A look at the Montessori first plane of development from ages 3 to 6 years old.

Maria Montessori found that children pass through four distinct planes of development over their childhoods. These planes last approximately six years each. As I said in my first post, Nora and Gus are both in the first plane (ages birth to 6.) Henry, however, is in the second plane (ages 6 to 12.) Nora and Gus will eventually join Henry in the second plane before he enters the third plane at around age 12, so this really is a unique time for our family. 

First Plane of Development

Now, like I mentioned before, the first plane is broken down into two sub-planes: ages birth to 3, and ages 3 to 6. Gus is in the first sub-plane. And, Nora, she is in the second sub-plane. Now to add to the uniqueness of this time, Gus will actually join Nora in the second sub-plane before either of them join Henry in the second plane! HA! 

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

Conscious Sub-Plane 3-6

At around age 3, there is a big shift in the child. Maria Montessori found that 3-year-olds shift away from unconsciously absorbing everything in their environment to consciously absorbing it. In The Absorbent Mind, Maria Montessori tells us, "thus it happens that at the age of three, life seems to begin again; for now consciousness shines forth in all its fullness and glory." 

Furthermore, she says, "his intelligence no longer develops merely by existing: it needs a world of things which provide him with motives for his activity." In other words, children from ages 3 to 6 still have the power to absorb information from their environment, but they do it through the active exploration of their surroundings and the materials placed within them. 

They do it through touch, manipulation, and exploration! Then, they repeat, repeat, repeat to perfect their actions and learn all they can about their interests. And you can see this through their behavior. Maria says, "hence there are two tendencies: one is the extension of consciousness by activities performed on the environment, the other is for the perfecting and enrichment of those powers already performed. These show us that the period from three to six is one of "constructive perfectionment" by means of activity."

Nora has officially entered this sub-plane. The shift has occurred over the last several months. It hasn't been something that one day wasn't there and one day was. But, little shifts here and there until it has become clear that she is a conscious worker. Here are some personal thoughts on this plane: 
  • intensely busy workers - always want to do something and can take initiative to do it themselves 
  • individual interests develop and materials {especially at home} vary from child to child based on those interests 
  • still very motivated by movement - a need to move and work 
  • learn through their senses and physical exploration - not by being told something
  • academic interests increase - sudden desire for academic knowledge and continued knowledge about the world around them 
  • crave information about the real world 
  • concentration deepens and children can work for much longer periods of time 
  • language calls to the child, but not just spoken language - desire to read and write develops and deepens 
  • interested in refining skills not just exploring materials - will repeat small parts of a task over and over until perfection 
  • very interested in practical life tasks 
  • complete a cycle of work -- choosing, taking out, working with, and returning material -- more and more regularly 
  • need a prepared environment to carry out tasks independently 
Over the next year, I expect Nora to stay busy - always working on something. I expect that her individual interests will continue to expand and that we will need to prepare our space to meet these interests! And, I expect her desire to learn all the things will continue! 

Next up in this series, I will explore the second plane of development! Don't miss the first post in this series on development: Montessori Planes of Development -- First Plane 0-3.

Do you have a 3 to 6 year old? Have you noticed changes as you have entered the second sub-plane? 



Ashlea said…
love this!I have a 2.5 yr old and 4.5 yr old and can very much see the differences in where they are. I also love that road sign puzzle N is doing, where did you get it/ what brand is it?

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2021

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure! 2021 UPDATE: Please be patient with links this year, with supply chain issues things are selling out faster and restocking slower. I anticipate some of the specialty toys will not restock once they are gone. Puzzles, in particular, have been difficult to find in stock. So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created toys, bu

Montessori Toddler: Favorite Toys and Activities 18 to 20 months

I've been putting off this post for a little while because I felt a little disappointed that I didn't have more to share. See, Teddy just isn't that into materials, especially those on the shelf. He tends to return to a couple of favorites over and over again and ignore all other attempts at shelf work. But, really that's my own adult feelings getting in the way of Teddy's own interests, and developmental path.  It's also me subconsciously valuing fine motor skills and stillness as more important than gross motor play and movement. I working hard not to do that, and want to normalize that all toddlers are different. All children have different interests and that concentration doesn't have to mean sitting still for long stretches of time.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. With all that said, here are some of Teddy's favorites over the last couple of months. Favorite Montessori Toys 18 to 20 Months I'm listing the toys that have be

Our Family's Montessori Christmas Gift Lists 2021

It's hard to believe another holiday season is upon us again. Every year I enjoy putting together my kids' Christmas gift lists. It's really a good time to observe them, see what they are interested in and what they might be ready for during this coming year. It's one of the few times a year that I purchase new materials for our home so it's always really exciting. IF YOU NEED MORE IDEAS DON'T MISS MY ULTIMATE MONTESSORI TOY LIST OR MY 2021 DEALS PAGE ! When considering these lists, please remember that these were curated based on my own children. Use them for inspiration but they are heavily influenced by what my children are into and interested in. And for my older second plane children, what they have asked for!  Here's a look at our family's Montessori Christmas lists for 2021!  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Theodore (Toddler) Teddy is just over 2-years-old. Being our fourth baby, he is really hard for me to think of unique