Montessori education is available for children from birth through high school. The approach is based on Montessori’s observations of four distinct phases or “planes” of development in children. The educational approach at each plane is tailored to the developmental needs and characteristics of each plane.
First Plane (birth to six)
The first plane is divided into two parts: birth to three, and three to six. For birth to three, Parent-Child and Infant-Toddler programs are offered, helping children acquire independence as they explore their world. For more information, see Birth to Three—Infant-Toddler on this site.
For three to six year olds, Primary or Children’s House classrooms offer environments which foster independence as well as academic and social development. For more information, see Three to Six—Primary on this site.
Second Plane (six to twelve)
Six to twelve year old children are often divided into six to nine and nine to twelve year old groupings, but six to twelve year old classrooms exist as well. These Elementary environments respond to children’s growing powers of reason and imagination and their drive to work in groups and explore the world outside the classroom. For more information, see Six to Twelve—Elementary on this site.
Third Plane (twelve to eighteen)
Montessori wrote and lectured about adolescent education, but did not develop the approach during her lifetime. She called for adolescents to live away from home “in the country, close to nature.” A number of Montessori schools offer middle school and high school programs, both boarding and day, based on Montessori’s work. For more information, see Twelve to Eighteen—Adolescence on this site.
Fourth Plane (eighteen to twenty-four)
Montessori wrote briefly about the function of the university and the role of the young adult, but did not describe a particular program.