The Montessori Method and Philosophy

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Maria Montessori: The Montessori Method

Education is an aid to life, for life. – Maria Montessori

Montessori education is a vision. It’s system is an approach and to the world it is a method, the Montessori Method. A spiral unfurls, evolves and grows from within. So it is with the Child—unfurling, evolving and growing from within.

Maria Montessori believed in the greatness of Man and the potential of the Child. She celebrates the Child as she celebrates Man. The Child is the father of man. His education is her ardent spiritual quest. It is a vision of education that informs and enlightens the whole child, the child within—psychic, social, biological and spiritual—responsive to and coexistent with his patterns. Here was education for peace and the birth of the  Montessori Method.

Maria Montessori presents human development as a natural process working through sensitive periods, human needs and tendencies. This is Maria Montessori’s gift to education and humanity. It is for parents, educators and the world to seize the moment and discover the way of Montessori.

Simple and Essential Keys to Montessori

Anchored in a grand vision to educate is to care, promote, restore and renew. The sole purpose of education in the Montessori Method is to release the human potential from within. Education must enable individuals to rise to the higher order of the spirit, transforming, releasing and liberating human potential.

The need for self-construction, embedded in the horme, our natural and unconscious life force, is the driving force. Auto education is the vehicle. The child’s own work with his own hands is the transforming agent.

The Hand is the instrument of intelligence. – Maria Montessori

Planes of Development, Our Guiding LightThe Montessori Method: Des Peres Montessori Family Outing

Maria Montessori explains human development as a “series of rebirths” from birth through maturity, each rebirth a cocoon preparing the child for the next. Each series or plane is a sequence of six years. There are four planes of development–birth through six years, six through twelve years, twelve through eighteen years and eighteen through twenty four years. It is at this point that development reaches maturity.

Whole, prepared and multi-aged environments corresponding to planes of development, with the needed freedom of choice and work, facilitate the Montessori process. The individuals freedom to move, to choose and do—with independence and order—cannot be overemphasized.

The child is impelled from within toward lessons appropriate and meaningful. As the child engages and immerses without interruption or intervention he nurtures and releases his potential. The child that emerges from this experience is satisfied and transformed from within.


When the child had completed an absorbing bit of work, they appeared rested and deeply pleased. It almost seemed as if a road had opened to their souls that led to their latent powers, revealing the better part of themselves. They exhibited a great affability to everyone, put themselves out to help others and seemed full of good will. – Maria Montessori

Sketching on Field Trip: Des Peres Montessori, St LouisChildren learn what they live. They love to model and as they model, they construct their own personalities—incarnate—integrating and becoming themselves. When children grow in whole and operative environments, with responsibilities to care for their environments, in cooperative ways they develop as whole and cooperative individuals.


Teacher preparations beyond certification and formal training is imperative. Teacher observations make the difference.

Four Planes of Development: The Montessori MethodEach plane has it’s own unique and distinguishing characteristics, sensitive periods, human tendencies and needs. Development within each plane may not be uniform from one child to another. Readiness therefore varies from one individual to another.

The First Plane Of Development “Help Me To Help Myself”

The first plane of development, from birth to six years, is the period of the absorbent mind. It is an unconscious process absorbing the environment as a whole. This is the stage of concrete concept building. It is the sensorial plane.First Plane of Development: The Montessori Method
Sensitive periods:

  • Order
  • Movement or refinement of gross motor skills
  • Language
  • Refinement of Senses
  • Sensitivity to small objects
  • Grace and courtesy or social behavior

Human Tendencies: Exploration, Adaptation, Movement, Freedom, Independence of Choice and Decisions, Love of Work and Repetition


  • Primary Montessori materials: Des Peres Montessori, St LouisPrepared and Responsive Environments (indoor and outdoor)
  • Activities supporting sensitive periods and tendencies to enable children to move through periods of absorption to periods of assimilation, acquisition and self-construction
  • Trained Director
  • Opportunity for uninterrupted cycles of work


  • Absorbent, Unconscious and Concrete
  • Need for physical independence

The Second Plane of Development “Help Me To Think For Myself”

Children six to twelve years of age enter the second plane of development. It is identified as the age of reason or the age of imagination–the intellectual phase. These children are reaching for an understanding of the physical, moral and spiritual order of the universe/cosmos. This is the stage of cosmic education. It is the intellectual plane.

Second Plane of Developmemt: The Montessori Method



Sensitive periods:

  • Cosmic Order
  • Moral Order
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Peer or Herding Association


 Human Tendencies: Intellectual and abstract concepts, moral order, grand ideas and calculations, problem solving, group and social bonding, collaborative work, scientific investigation and solutions



  • Prepared and Responsive Environments (indoor and outdoor)
  • Activities supporting sensitive periods and tendencies to enable children to move through periods of absorption to periods of assimilation, acquisition and self-construction
  • Large scope for scientific experiments and investigation
  • Trained Directors
  • Moral Independence
  • Opportunity for uninterrupted cycles of work


  • Conscious and abstract
  • Analytical, intellectual and academic
  • The Social Child, the moral child


In conclusion, may it be said that the Montessori Method is a gift to humanity and to early childhood education. It is profound in presenting human development and education as whole and coexistent. It is yet more profound in presenting human development as an evolving and unfolding process of sensitive periods, needs and tendencies. It is at it’s most profound in offering a methodology—environment and curriculum—as evolving out of the Child, and training it’s corresponding imperative and partner.

For additional information about the Montessori Method and Philosophy, please contact us here to arrange an appointment at your convenience.