Understanding & Nurturing Your Second Plane Child
Mandi J. Zielinski is the author of today's article in our Montessori 6-12 Parenting Series. She is an attorney and professional entrepreneur who runs several small businesses. She homeschools her two children with a multilingual, Montessori-inspired approach. She is the founder of Multisori, the simple but powerful idea that optimal learning occurs when education is customized to the unique needs of each child. Mandi dreams of a world full of happy, successful kids that love to learn.
Mandi offers an expert led, Montessori inspired curriculum for children ages 0-6. For more info on the curriculum, called “Multisori Masters.”
You can connect and collaborate with Mandi through her:
- What is Montessori?
"Montessori" is the last name of Dr. Maria Montessori, a pioneer who developed a novel approach to whole child education in the 1800s. She used her own scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood in developing the model. Dr. Montessori’s method has been around for over 100 years. It has been successful in virtually all cultures as well as in both short term and longitudinal studies.
- What are Planes of Development?
The concept of “Four Planes of Development” is the psychological framework through which Dr. Montessori explained her view of human development:
First Plane - Early Childhood - Ages 0-6 - characterized by the desire for physical independence, the young child’s “absorbent mind” and a variety of sensitive periods for learning;
Second Plane – Childhood - Ages 6-12 - characterized by a desire for intellectual independence, a thirst for knowledge, fascination with fairness, and the transition from concrete to abstract thinking;
Third Plane – Adolescence - Ages 12-18 - characterized by a desire for emotional independence, self-concern, self-assessment, and a sensitive period for critical thinking and exploring values; and
Fourth Plane – Adulthood - Ages 18-24 - characterized by a desire for financial independence, construction of the spiritual self and seeking to discover one’s place in the world.
Understanding the Second Plane of Development:
- When is the second plane?
The second plane of development is what we think of as "childhood", and encompasses the age range of 6-12 in Montessori philosophy.
- What happens during this plane?
Montessori described this stage of life as a “calm phase of uniform growth.” Like children in the first plane of development, children ages 6-12 still undergo substantial learning and brain development, but now, learning takes place at a slower, steadier pace. Children in the second plane are beginning to advance from concrete to abstract thought.
- How will my child change during this plane?
Your child will no longer crave repetition, unless the activities are varied. And, they will no longer engage in parallel play. Instead, they want to do things with friends. They will focus less on physical order and more on moral order. They are developing a strong sense of right and wrong, so you may hear "that's not fair!" often.
- Why is this plane important?
It is during the second plane of development that children develop their moral compass. This plane sets the stage for development of values in the third plane. Moreover, the second plane offers parents and educators the awesome, albeit fleeting, opportunity to help children build a strong moral conscience.
How to Prepare Your Second Plane Child for Success:
This is the time when your child will begin to notice injustice in the world and will naturally develop an interest in helping others. It’s your job to show your 6-12 year old not only that they can make a difference, but also how to do so. Here are a few things you can do to ensure your child’s moral compass is properly aligned and ready for the third plane of development:
- Model the behavior you want to see in them. When your child was small, you probably covered your mouth when you sneezed or used quiet voices indoors. But, this time is crucial – and it’s not enough to model the simple rules of politeness and courtesy. You must also model your values, be it kindness to animals or attending church. If you want them to do it, you must also.
- Give them regular access to strong role models. You need to make sure your 6-12 year old child commonly see people living with integrity and standing up for what they believe in.
- Give them opportunities to see people helping others, being kind, taking a stand, and serving the greater good.
- Do things to help your child internalize the idea that they have the ability to do something real to help a cause that they are passionate about. Consider introducing your child to volunteering, help them run a car wash to benefit a local charity, or serve meals at a local homeless shelter.
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