Dr Montessori discovered that the child possess a mind which is totally different from that of an adult. The child absorbs all that is found around him, very much identical to the process of osmosis. A key word before further development about the absorbent mind would be adaptation. Adaptation might be considered as the trigger point. Why ? From his birth, in order to survive and to fulfil his role, the infant is adapting himself to the environment. He was born helplessness and he’s adapting himself to the environment. While animals have pre-established behaviours, the child was born with no instincts, no capacity to survive by himself. Little by little he will mute his helplessness into special powers in order to suit the environment according to time, space and culture. This huge step taken by the child to pass from nothing to something is miraculous and universal.
In order to adapt, the child uses a special ability for soaking up knowledge, information and everything about him from the environment unconsciously from birth to three, and consciously from the age of three to six years. This unique way of learning is called “absorbent mind”. The presence of this absorbent mind will be in the first 6 years, the first plan of development and then will fade away. -As we said above, from birth to 3 years the absorbent mind absorbs impressions non-consciously. This goes to say that the child does not have even the basic awareness of the impressions he is absorbing; each and every thing that he is exposed to is taken in like a picture which is incorrigible. -However by the time the child moves from 3 years to 6 years,consciousness starts to set in the child’s absorbent mind and he can now start consciously absorbing impressions from the environment. Now he becomes aware of what he is absorbing. Now is the time that the impressions that were taken in by the non-conscious absorbent mind need to be compartmentalised and consolidated. To summarize and make the sequential stages apparent as Maria Montessori described it: The first embryonic period, in the womb, is the prenatal one when the physical growth and health occur. The second embryonic period is right after birth and during the first three years and is called : Spiritual Embryo. This is the phase of intellectual development or a period of mental construction of the child that starts developing right after birth and continues developing to three. It is the non-physical growth of the child’s mind, intellect, personality, temperament, spirit and soul which Dr. Montessori thought of as being comparable to the physical growth of the embryo in the womb before birth. The conscious Worker period will follow from 3 to 6 years old. Then the child starts to be aware of what he’s taking in.
Characteristics of the absorbent mind:
Universal, Unconscious, Involontary, Instantaneous, Inerasable, non selective, sensorial, limitless. Between birth and age six, which will be possible by a unique ability to learn and assimilate anything surrounding him, without any effort and in a completely unconscious way: through absorption. In that way the mind of a young child is significantly different to that of an adult. Montessori was the first one to recognize the fact that the child has a mind which is not conscious mind and which is different from an adult mind that is why she called it absorbent mind. “The child absorbs these impressions not with his mind but with his life itself […]the child has an intelligence of this unconscious type” (Montessori absorbent mind p23) The infant absorbs instantaneously, like a sponge with no discrimination, with no effort, the perfect replica of life, in a sensorial way, using his five senses, with no consciousness. A sponge absorb everything. The absorbent mind absorbs everything the same way. There is spiritual energy behind the absorbent mind. Everything is interesting and worth absorbing. Montessori used the...