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Dr Maria Montessori and Sensitive Periods:

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

It took me so many times to read about sensitive periods that Maria Montessori discussed in her book," Her Life And Work" so I  
thought I would highlight it for you.

Sensitive periods are known as stages of psychological development that the children go through in their early years. The children go through many different sensitive periods between the ages of 3-6.  During these stages of sensitive periods, children are more apt to learn new behaviors. All human characteristic are ingrained by means of a sensitive period, which is an inner urge that drives the child to make these acquisitions. These periods, however, are only temporary and eventually pass. “Children pass through definite periods in which they reveal psychic aptitudes and possibilities which afterward disappear. That is why, at particular epochs of their life, they reveal an intense and extraordinary interest in certain objects and exercises, which one might look for in vain at later age” (Standing, Maria Montessori Her Life and Work, p.120).  The sensitive periods that children experience between ages 3-6 are sensitivity to order, language, walking, social aspects of life, small objects and learning through the senses. During the sensitive period for language, children can pick up words quickly and easily learn any language. The sensitive period for walking usually happens during between 12-15 months. This is the time when children are perfecting their new skill and enjoying their newfound independence. The sensitive period for small objects and learning through the senses can often go hand in hand. Children use their senses from birth to discover and learn about the environment around them. They listen to look and listen to recognize the people that surround them. In the first year of life they begin to put things in their mouth to get a taste and start using their tactile senses to pick up and get familiar with objects in their environment  These are the main sensitive periods that Maria Montessori talked about. However, children can still have other smaller and more specific sensitive periods, such as pouring, puzzles, etc. During this time, you may notice that the child enjoys repeating the same activity over and over again. These are vital teaching moments that adults can use to maximize the children’s sensitive periods.

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