Margaret Stephenson as quoted in NAMTA Journal 23:3 Summer 1997:
Underlying the Montessori idea of "an aid to life" is her vision of the child as the cosmic agent of humanity and its survival. The theme that runs through the four planes is putting the child in touch with the cosmic task of the world and its inhabitants in a manner that is fitted to the psychology of each discrete plane. If a child does not get the connection in one plane, he or she cannot move on to the next plane fully prepared.(end quote)
The child does move on to the next plane, just not fully prepared.
What is given at each plane:
- This connection is made subconsciously yet concretely through the materials.
- This connection is made more consciously, through approaching Cosmic Education as a drama, not as a lifeless curriculum. This drama is the vision of Montessori. If this drama inspires the child of the second plane...,
- then when that child reaches the third plane, he or she will be able to ask, "What is my role in this drama?"
Going Out is also important to give the Elementary child a complete vision of the universe, and a particularly valuable aspect of Going Out is community service. This is the basis for the service we've been talking about for the adolescents; it needs to begin earlier than adolescence (in order to reach its fullest fruits).