Four Planes of Education - by Maria Montessori

my notes:

One sees that their need for activity and work is something fundamental. The child realizes that through his own efforts he can be independent and achieve things he has set his mind to.

To help the child is not what he needs.

Liberty is not to be free to do anything one likes, it is to be able to act without help.

When they have chosen a task and adults go to help them thinking it is too hard, the children defend themselves against this useless help.

“Help me to do it by myself” Every useless help is an obstacle to development.

They have dignity and independence.

7 years old has been called the Age of Rudeness.

I do not say that the child becomes a philosopher but he develops feelings toward the abstract, just as in the first phase, he had feelings toward the concrete.

The child of 7 enters the abstract field, he wishes to know the reasons.

He wants to know why he is bad. and what it is to be bad, etc.

Another peculiarity of this phase is the attitude of detachment from home environment. What he likes is to go out. The previous phase’s environment, a house full of small furniture and beautiful things, is no longer adequate or satisfying.

What are Boy Scouts if not persons seeking for themselves a more exacting environment, wider social contacts, wider experiences and independence from their families?

Indeed we have come to the conclusion that the basis of all culture should be given in this period from 7 years to adolescence.

When a material is given, the picture changes. The children then work indefatigably for they will persist in order to find the causes, reasons and consequences which they seek.

If helped by the material, many abstract studies such as algebra are possible at this age, because at this level the mentality is on an abstract plane.

Each plane must be lived through fully in order to pass masterly to the next.

He passes from feeling for himself in relation with those with whom he is in contact, to feeling for others whom he has never seen. It is an ABSTRACT love. It is love without retribution because it is directed towards those never seen and whom he will never see because they are too numerous.

Perhaps the failure of the secondary school is due to the fact that it uses methods of assimilation that are no longer suited to the development of the child.

He wants ‘to live’ in society. He should work a great deal on the land.

Self- respect should be gained for the seriousness of work done and a realization of what work and money mean.

To gain money by one’s own effort is a sign that one has done something useful, otherwise money is just something that the family gives them and they become parasites.

Culture and education have no bounds or limits; now man is in a phase in which he must decide for himself how far he can proceed in the culture that belongs to the whole of humanity.

So as to keep up with evolving humanity, education should continue throughout life.

It is very necessary for the needs of humanity that there be such men conscious of their powers.

All desire that humanity be joined by mutual understanding, but this does not come easily. To achieve this we must rise a step further and attain a higher level of moral conscience and responsibility.

Love of power, possession, and easy life must be overcome. This is impossible to attain unless man has gone through all these experiences, for this detachment is something that can occur only in a fully developed man.

Conditions must be provided, so that man can develop in such a way that he is capable of mutual understanding. (Mother Earth, Raw Materials)

We must help him to develop within himself that which will make him capable of understanding.

Peace cannot exist without justice and without men endowed with a strong conscience and personality.