The Four Planes of Development – A Tool for Parents

The Four Planes of Development – A Tool for Parents

Dec 05 , 2021

Alex deMoca

A Montessori childhood

from 0 – 24 years old

Have you ever thought, “I don’t understand my child anymore?” It’s like they have entirely changed.

Dr. Montessori spoke about the four planes of development. A child passes from 0-6 to 6-12 to 12-18 and 18-24. The child is almost like a new child in each of these planes.

As parents, we observe our children and offer love, respect, acceptance, and understanding at any age…but we must adjust how we are with our children as they pass each plane.

The four planes of development can be used as a beautiful tool for parenting our children. It helps us understand how our child is now viewing the world depending on their plane of development…and how we can support them at each stage.


  • an absorbent mind – taking in everything around them
  • learn with all the senses
  • from dependence to collaboration to physical independence – being able to begin to care for their own needs
  • they are constructing themselves from their experiences – becoming a child of their time, place, and culture
  • a volatile period of growth


  • a reasoning mind – they don’t just accept things; they need a reason
  • they are stronger, more stable, and able to work for longer
  • they need big work to challenge them + an ample empty space to stretch out
  • they use their imagination to understand things not in front of them, to create, to solve problems
  • seeking mental independence
  • they need to explore society


  • massive physical and psychological changes; a volatile period (similar to the first plane)
  • seeking social and economic independence
  • constructing themselves as adults
  • want to solve problems of the world, for example, developing social policy
  • “a social newborn”


  • more stable period (similar to the second plane)
  • give back to society, e.g., volunteer work, entering the workforce, choosing a study that will give back
  • being adults
  • they have a specialized, reasoning, logical mind
  • seeking financial, moral, and spiritual independence("I can get it myself")