As a child reaches six years of age, he enters the second plane of development (6-12 years). The second plane child goes through dramatic changes both physically and psychologically. They move away from the concrete towards the abstract. They already have at their disposal the creations in the first plane which are language, some degree of independence, coordinated movement, refined senses, intelligence and memory. This period is a phase of acquisition of culture(which are elemenets of human knowledge such as Biology, history, Math, Geography etc.) just as the first plane is for the absorption of the environment. There is an immense need for the child to know the reasons of things in the external environment. The child desires immense knowledge ready to take it in with his own understanding. This is the period when seeds of everything can be sown into the child’s mind which is like a fertile field. These seeds sown at the right time will eventually germinate into culture. Imagination is the creative faculty of the child through which the child understands information which he cannot perceive sensorially. It helps him travel through time and space and aids him in abstraction.
This plane also concerns with the exploration of the moral field. They begin to understand the discrimination between the good and the evil. The child is no longer receptive for absorbing the impressions with ease but wants to understand them for himself and not just accept them as mere facts. The second plane child also finds the need to associate himself with others not merely for the sake of company but in some sort of organized activity. He tends to work in groups where each member of the group has a defined status and responsibility. He is eager to learn the dynamics of the society and work with it. The child has shown us that he needs to learn through his own individual activity, should be given mental freedom to choose his own activity and not be questioned about it.
Since the child is craving to understanding everything in his environment which extends to the limits of the universe, a new philosophy of education should be adopted to meet his greater demands. Mere memorization of facts and limited syllabus would not enthuse the child and nurture his appetite for knowledge. Dr. Montessori proposed the idea of cosmic education for the second plane child. Cosmos comes from the Greek word “kosmos” and can be defined as “the universe as an ordered system” or “the order of the universe”. The meaning of cosmic education is the presentation of the universe as an ordered system to the mind of this older child using reason and imagination. She suggested to give the child an idea of the universe as the universe is the sum total of all the knowledge.
The elementary program for the second plane child is divided into two parts. Lower elementary for the 6-9 year olds and Upper elementary for the 9-12 year olds. Here, the children work in mixed age environments along with their peers from different age groups.
Our aim is not only to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core.