The Four Planes of Development: Unlocking Your Kid’s Potential

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Understanding the Montessori planes of development is key to unlocking your kid’s true potential. So, let’s tackle them one by one!
The montessori planes of development

Table of Contents

30 Second Summary

The Montessori stages of development are early childhood, childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. Each has its characteristics, and you can use them to hone your kid’s skills.

First Plane of Development

The early childhood stage (from birth to six years old) is marked by absorbing new information and observing the environment.


  • Spontaneous movements
  • Learning to coordinate movements
  • Heavy use of sensory organs
  • Language skills
  • Imitation of social skills
  • Independent play
  • Spiritual construction
  • Strong sense of self

How to Help Your Child During This Plane

Give kids a safe and resource-rich environment, and hone their cognitive, language, and physical skills through play.

Second Plane of Development

Kids are in the second plane (childhood) from six to twelve. They learn to think for themselves and understand the world.


  • Developing a moral compass
  • Abstract learning
  • Interest in cultures
  • Relative instability
  • Sense of adventure
  • Recognizing social cues
  • Working in groups
  • Use of imagination

How to Help Your Child During This Plane

Engage your kid in critical thinking and problem-solving activities. Teach them about social justice, and tell them how to help.

Third Plane of Development

Adolescence (12 to 18) is a stage of emotional and social independence.


  • Improved critical thinking
  • Reflection on the self and moral and social issues
  • Undergoing puberty
  • Rapid emotional and physical changes
  • Decreased intellectual capacity
  • Independent decision making
  • Having a social life

How to Help Your Child During This Plane

Dr. Maria Montessori says, “It is better to treat an adolescent as if he had greater value than he actually shows than as if he had less.”

Fourth Plane of Development

The Fourth Plane refers to young adulthood (ages 18 to 24) when your kid moves towards total independence.


  • Spiritual and emotional reflection
  • Exploring career paths
  • Identifying goals and passions
  • Striving for financial independence
  • Social responsibility

How to Help Your Child During This Plane

Although they’ll always be your little child and you’ll be there for them, this is where your kid pursues their journey.

Sensitive Periods & Their Relationship to the Planes

Most apparent in the first plane of development, a sensitive period is when a child acquires a skill/interest that particularly facilitates learning specific concepts. By understanding the four stages of growth and identifying your kid’s sensitive periods, you can take advantage of them.


Ultimately, you should identify your child’s stage to accommodate their developmental journey and nurture them as much as you hope to.

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