Thursday, December 17, 2009

Montessori Planes of Development: Lower Elementary Characteristics in the Second Plane

The task set before themselves by masters has generally been to mould soft material and fill empty vessels, but we must set ourselves to see the marvels hidden in the child and help him to unfold them. ~ Maria Montessori, The Child, Society and the World
NAMC montessori planes of development second plane lower elementary characteristics children talking
As a Montessori elementary classroom teacher, I have often heard parents voicing frustration over behaviors their children were exhibiting. I listened to their concerns about whether certain behaviors were “normal” and when I thought their children might “outgrow” these behaviors.

Thankfully, my Montessori training had adequately prepared me to help guide these parents. Drawing upon my knowledge of Montessori’s planes of development, I was able to reassure parents that the behaviors of their children were not only normal, but developmentally appropriate and expected.

The Second Plane of Development (ages 6-12) is called the plane of childhood. While experiencing great growth both physically and mentally, children in the second plane of development are drawn to more social interactions and are learning about social relationships within their environment. They are genuinely interested in the thoughts, feelings, and treatment of others. They’re also developing and testing their sense of humor.
The multi-age classroom is a dynamic, vibrant environment in which children move through the planes of development in incremental stages. While children progress and develop at their own pace, there are certain characteristics of children at certain ages.

Montessori Planes of Development: Lower Elementary Characteristics in the Second Plan

Characteristics of First Graders
The average first grader is absorbed with herself and learning to understand herself as a person. She enjoys being the center of attention. First graders…
  • enjoy being first in line
  • have an unending supply of energy
  • may act silly, critical of others, or defiant
  • are learning to control their emotions and may cry easily
  • become attached to their teacher
  • enjoy routines
  • are developing their imagination and enjoy imaginative play
Characteristics of Second Graders
By second grade, students are more composed. They are continuing to learn about themselves and others. Second Graders…
  • are beginning to reason
  • worry and are self-critical. They may express a lack of confidence
  • demand more of their teacher's time
Characteristics of Third Graders
The average third grader is curious and emotional, becoming easily inspired or upset. They recognize the needs of others. Third graders…
    NAMC montessori planes of development second plane lower elementary characteristics student book
  • tend to be extremely active and are sometimes impetuous
  • are quick to laugh and can be silly
  • are able to assume some responsibility for their actions
  • may take on more tasks or projects than they are capable
  • are self-critical
Montessori teachers and parents can help children in the early Second Plane of Development by helping them to:
  • develop a positive, realistic self-concept
  • respect themselves and their unique identity
  • understand, respect, and build relationships with others
  • gain awareness of feelings and how to express them
  • participate in groups
  • learn from their mistakes
Montessori believed that education was not necessarily about teaching in the traditional sense, but more about assisting in the psychological development of children. If we are to help children grow psychologically, we must understand what is developmentally appropriate behavior in all planes of development. The NAMC 6-12 Classroom Guide provides further information about this developmental period, and tools and techniques for Montessori educators.

Related NAMC blog: The Second Plane of Development: Ages 6-12 - Montessori Philosophy
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.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, December 17, 2009.

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