THE COSMIC GUIDE TO 

Choosing Books

Understanding where a child lands developmentally is the first step in making sure you're sharing the right books. We've used Maria Montessori's planes of development as a guide to help illustrate the best way to choose books with children from birth to age eighteen. While this isn't exhaustive by any means, we hope it's a helpful cheat sheet for you to understand where your bibliophile's mind is at their current level of development.

Click on a selection below for a brief overview of a specific plane, or just scroll down and see them all. 

Birth to Age 3

Age 9 - 12

Age 3 - 6

Age 12 - 18

Age 6 - 9

Storytelling

Birth to Age 3

From birth to age six, children are in the stage of development Montessori refers to as "The Absorbent Mind." The first three years are driven by the unconscious mind, during which time children absorb information without conscious effort. They tend to learn best through repetition and sensory experiences. You're not yet showing them the key to the world so much as you're showing them what a key is.

 

Age 3 - 6

The second half of the Absorbent Mind plane is ruled by the conscious mind, when children begin to understand their physical body and want to make an impression on their environment. They're still able to pick up information easily, but now set about to drive their experiences on their own, entering an age of fierce independence.

 

Age 6 - 9

The second plane of development in Montessori philosophy, from age six to twelve, is governed by the reasoning mind. They've learned to do it themselves, and now they need to know what, why, and how. This is the age Cosmic Education is introduced, and children use their independence and the skills they learned in the Absorbent phase to drive their further understanding of topics, ponder hypotheticals, follow their interests, and make more complex social connections.

 
 

Age 12 - 18

The adolescent is primarily focused on their position in the world, gaining and exercising independence, and building their sense of self on their way to adulthood. They continue to have a dedication to justice, are socially aware and focused, and Montessori practices involve more community outreach and focus on the individual's place in a functioning society.

Age 9 - 12

 

The reasoning mind of a nine- to twelve-year-old is in hyperdrive, looking for answers to questions on a larger scale than ever before. The Reasoning Mind is one of justice, a quest for social understanding, and creating networks. This is a sensitive period of social awareness, and the sense of physical order gives way to moral order.