the second plane of development
As children enter the second plane of development, Montessori observed the dissipation of what she called the 'absorbent mind' unique to the first plane and the emergence of a new kind of capacity that saw children develop the ability to transcend space and time and to grasp deeper concepts. This passage of time was marked by increased creative powers and a desire and drive for cognitive and/or intellectual independence. She referred to this as the time of the reasoning mind.
During this time, Montessori primary prepared environments offer a deep, diverse and integrated series of experiences that provide a doorway to, orientation within and an understanding of, the universe and more importantly, the child's place in it. Montessori called this multi-layered, transdisciplinary approach, Cosmic Education. Through the telling of 'Great Stories', the use of impressionistic charts, experiments and timelines children come to express awe and wonder at the world they live in.
These years between six and twelve were also a time of great social sensitivity and a heightened awareness of morals and justice providing a wonderful opportunity to work if not massage conscience. It is during this time that compassion and empathy hold deeper meaning.