Young children in a field of wildflowers

Dr Montessori outlined four consecutive planes, or stages, of development from birth to maturity, each plane spanning approximately six-years. At each plane of development children and young people display intellectual powers, social orientations and creative potential unique to that stage. Each plane is characterised by the way children in that plane learn, building on the achievements of the plane before and preparing for the one to follow. The timing and nature of the transition between planes vary from individual to individual.

A part of our weekly series of thoughts from Dr. Maria Montessori's work and writings - designed to promote further reflection on professional practice.

A part of our weekly series of thoughts from Dr. Maria Montessori's work and writings - designed to promote further reflection on professional practice.

A part of our weekly series of thoughts from Dr. Maria Montessori's work and writings - designed to promote further reflection on professional practice.

A part of our weekly series of thoughts from Dr. Maria Montessori's work and writings - designed to promote further reflection on professional practice.

A part of our weekly series of thoughts from Dr. Maria Montessori's work and writings - designed to promote further reflection on professional practice.

Psychotherapist Philippa Perry nominates the Italian educator and doctor Maria Montessori, who revolutionised children's education.

Montessori schools exist today in over 170 countries. They are defined by a child-centred approach to learning, nurturing independence and individuality in children as young as three years old. In Philippa Perry’s work as a psychotherapist, she finds deep connections with Montessori’s philosophy, which is about believing the person has the power to develop within them.

Language development young child reading

In a Montessori environment writing is introduced before reading; the reverse of most other methods of education. When writing, the words come from the child (the child knows what they are wanting to express) however reading is a more complex process. Now the child needs to decode (work out) someone else’s thoughts and ideas.

How can the language programme be supported at home?

Rich and varied spoken experiences need to be provided and modelled

Cosmic education Montessori teacher with children

Introduced to the primary aged child (6-12 years), “Cosmic Education is related to the development of human beings, not just a new educational method, or a new technique of teaching subjects in a syllabus. Cosmic Education is a form of relating children to the universe, its furnishings, and humanity, so that they are able to understand the law and order underlying their existence and to realise in themselves all the developing potential that is their birthright.” Dr Maria Montessori

Moveable alphabet letters

“Written language complements spoken language and is integrated with it.” (Maria Montessori, The Formation of Man)

Montessori said that writing is a complex action requiring certain abilities that can be categorised into two main groups: physical ability (the use of the hand) and cognitive ability (the use of the mind).

Have you noticed the young child is drawn to the tiny ant, that the child’s attention is caught by the delicate new bud or shoot just starting to emerge? The child has a close connection to nature and in the 3 to 6 Montessori classroom this interest is further stimulated through the leaf cabinet. This is a cabinet containing different leaf shapes. Three sets of cards (one with a filled in leaf shape, one with a thick outline and one with a thin outline) are also used with the shapes from the cabinet.

The outdoor area is an extension of the inside space as well as being a space in its own right.  It often includes a garden where the children can grow and harvest flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables. Plants which reflect a variety of flowers, leaf shapes, smells and colours should be available to the child outside. 

A part of our weekly series of thoughts from Dr. Maria Montessori's work and writings - designed to promote further reflection on professional practice. First published 3rd June 2019

A part of our weekly series of thoughts from Dr. Maria Montessori's work and writings - designed to promote further reflection on professional practice. First published 27th May 2019

A part of our weekly series of thoughts from Dr. Maria Montessori's work and writings - designed to promote further reflection on professional practice. First published 20th May 2019