“Men with hands and no head, and men with head and no hands are equally out of place in the modern community.” 

Dr. Maria Montessori, From Childhood to Adolescence, p 61

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With the series "The Erdkinder" we try to help to make the Erdkinderplan better known, to network and to give young people a platform on which they can present their work and their community..
Each community has its own individual way of presenting itself, sharing its joy and inspiring with us. All presentations are always related to the aspects of the Erdkinderplan: work on the land, in the household, in the shop, academic work, self-expression and the adults accompanying them were presented. 
Look forward to exciting and joyful evenings.

Thanks for joining us in 2021 and 2022:

Montessori Tonsberg, Norway
Montessori Mozaika, Czech Republic
Montessori Perlicka, Czech Republic
Montessori Wörgl, Austria
Montessori Farm Aulendiebach, Germany
Jugendschule Strausberg, Germany
Les Esprits Libres, France
Montessori Andilek, Czech Republic
Montessori Farm Wittenberge Germany

Independence, Work and the Adult

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The child enters into a great physical transformation that has its culmination around the age of 15. There are parallels to the first plane: rapid growth, huge modifications in the brain and so forth. 

Two very important characteristics appear: 1. protection and 2. to know about all aspects of the society in terms of himself. (Montessori, Childhood to Adolescence, 60) 

The adolescent is very sensitive to criticism and rudeness, worry and melancholy emerge. The tendencies now linked with the aim to become a beneficial member of society. To achieve this aim, “independence has to be acquired on a different plane, for theirs is the economic independence the field of society” (Montessori, Childhood to Adolescence, 67). The adult has to prepare an environment that response to the economic freedom and to need to be protected. 

Living away from home, where the adolescent still is a child in the family, at a place imbedded in nature, where the food is healthy and the child can work, meditate and reflect outside as much as possible. (Montessori, Childhood to Adolescence, 67) 

The old English word scol comes from Latin schola : intermission of work, leisure for learning, learned conversation, debate; lecture; meeting place for teachers and students, place of instruction; disciples of a teacher, body of followers and also from Greek skhole : spare time, leisure, rest and ease. (Online Etymology Dictionary, “School”) 

The surrounding that has to be created by the adult should be a “school of experience in the elements of social life.” (Montessori, Childhood to Adolescence, 64)
 The adolescent's independence develops in a very close contact with adults. Working side by side at a farm where the products can be produced, which can be sold in a shop and be served in a hostel. These are ways to learn from society and to contribute to society. The inner need to become more and more independent can be satisfied by the approach to such work. Thus the adolescent is ready to go on to the next plane.


The adolescent comes into the world of adults where work has another meaning. He has to develop an “...understanding of the society which he is about to enter to play his part as a man,... .” (Dr. Montessori, 60) In terms of his reduced intellectual capacity profound knowledge will be given by a combination of work and study. All work can be done successfully if it is done by connecting with society in the past, at present and even the future. The individual inventor is no longer a point of interest. It is rather the inventor's  invention in matters of its effect and value for society. (62) The individual adolescent refers to this. Self-expression as a characteristic on that plane can here be act out. Presenting the results of research of settlement history of farmers in former times can be presented in a play with costumes, music and self-written dialogues. 

Working in a community is a field for exploration about adult's roles in reality. While he is engaged side by side with the guide for his economic independence he can focus on interpersonal relationships. Montessori calls the adolescents “social newborn”, because of their special sensitivity to civilization.
 Experiences made by intellectual and practical work on the land in a community makes work itself very valuable (68.) He recognizes: “All work is noble, the only ignoble thing is to live without working.” (65) The result can be a self-confident individual, that is aware of his one's own capacity. (64) 

As mentioned above, the adolescent's self-construction goes along with economic independence. He gets a lot of “benefit from being initiated in economic” (64) patterns. Montessori propose a life away from being in a child's role in the family, living on a farm as possible, surrounded by nature and both embedded in a small community with other adolescents and guiding adults and a wider community, like the villages around them including  neighbor farmers. This is the prepared environment. The adult has to be participant observer while students work, he as to coach them and aid them. He shall recognize, that there are other traps to fall into being an obstacle than on the previous planes. He has to collaborate with the other adults to bring all observation together in sense of the best service to the adolescent's development. 

All work has to be done together with others. All work must be related to society. Then the inner need to self-construction as a plan of self-creation as work is met. 


“For man is a unity, an individuality that passes through interdependent phases of development. Each preceding phase prepares the one that follows, forms its base, nurtures the energies that urge towards the succeeding period of life.” (84)


The adult guides role is based on knowledge about the child's characteristics, the psychological and physical needs on each plane. After a careful and exact observation he has to analyze the outcomes at the periphery wether the adolescent need help on cleaning the house for example or in any academical case. Montessori says: “ Indeed, if children are capable of keeping the house clean and tidy, of waiting at table, of washing dishes, of taking care of small pottery, etc, the adolescents can easily learn to run a hotel.” (69) This meets the need to be  independent by supporting him with lectures on useful topics. 

The guide's attitude shall be humbling and serve the child's needs. He shall be patient and always remember the pearl inside the adolescent. This is an expression of giving protection to him. 

Author: Laura Behrens