Maria Montessori’s scientific observation of children of all ages, worldwide, over several decades led her to develop these fundamental conclusions.
• Human development does not occur in a steady, linier ascent, but in a series of formative stages.
• Complete development is made possible through human tendencies to contain universal actions relative to their environment.
• Action is most productive when self-chosen through individual interest.
Montessori organized her observations and identified four major planes of development. Two planes of childhood resulting in a mature child at age two and two formative stages of adulthood resulting in a mature adult at twenty-four years old.
These four fundamental planes had the following commonalities
• An overarching developmental goal
• A predictable path to that goal
• There are unique human attributes associated with each period that facilitate the achievement of each goal.
The activity in each plane of development builds upon the prior stage. Faulty development in anyone stage affects the successful completion of all the others. So it is important to remember that method is not a presciptive march through materials but the creation of learning environments that facilitate the emergent natural human tendencies toward exploration orientation, order, imagination, manipulation, repetition, precision, perfection and communication.
The goal of education should be “the development of a compete human being. Oriented to the environment, adapted to her time, place and culture.”