In the second plane of development, the child changes from a solitary creator to an intensely social creature. Having absorbed a huge amount of data, he is now ready and interested in the whys and wherefores of things, in the past and future, and in other cultures and planets. His mental foundation has been laid and his mind is eager to stretch further and develop new capacities and understanding. This is the period of the greatest intellectual development and for the first time, he is vitally concerned with morals and values, wanting to know about right and wrong, good and bad.
Montessori’s curriculum takes advantage of the second plane child’s tremendous intellectual interest and capacity. “Cosmic education” is an interdisciplinary study of the earth and its people in all geographic regions and throughout time. It includes geography, history, botany, zoology, geology, physical science, art, music, mathematics, geometry and language. It gives a broad view of the universe, both the natural world and the cultural world of humans, and relates it all to the child’s personal experiences in order to bring it to life. It gives the child an unlimited scope for research and a cosmic view of the inter-relationship and connection of all life.
In accordance with the child’s natural developmental tendency, much of the class work is done in small groups of children studying or doing research projects together. The children’s interest in morality is addressed: the rules, which must be very clear, logical, minimal and fairly administered, are discussed, and student input encouraged. Moral issues are discussed fully as they arise. The child is helped to mature and learn in each stage of his development by working in harmony with his changing developmental skills and tendencies.