Define the Term Sensitive Periods and Explain How the Teacher's Knowledge and Understanding of These Periods Determines His/Her Preparation and Custodianship of the Prepared Environment.

Topics: Motor control, Maria Montessori, Learning Pages: 7 (2543 words) Published: October 18, 2010
The term, Sensitive periods are blocks of time in the child’s life when he is particularly absorbed with one characteristic of his environment to the exclusive of all others area of life. The activity provides the child is drawn to inherently aid to the child in her physical, mental and emotional development. During these sensitive periods, the child learns the skill or knowledge with the greatest ease and to the greatest perfection. We must recognize this as natural and powerful motivator for learning. Learning during a Sensitive Period is effortless, but these periods are also transitory and irretrievable.

In order to understand how children move between stages, it is important to understand how children take in stimuli from the environment and use it to grow. In Montessori study, found that there are periods in children’s live which they become biologically mature enough to gain certain skills that they could have easily picked up to that maturation. Research has shown that babies and toddlers brains are more flexible with regard to learning to understand and use language than older children. The adult can recognize a sensitive periods by the child intense desire for particular activity. If the child is left free to participate in the activity, she will work repeatedly and with deep concentration, if the child is not interrupted she or he can develop tremendous powers of concentration during this activity. Children need adults to notice their achievements and provide an environment to support their further development. This can be done by observing a child progress and accessing their needs in all areas.

Children are ready to open to develop skills during specific stages; however it doesn’t just happen over night. Instead they need prepared environment stimuli to develop these abilities. For example, babies have the ability to grow in length and weight in amazing amount during the first years but if they are not fed and nurtured enough during that time, they will not have the tools and building block to grow and will not grow and thrive. This is why it’s important for teacher to understand how the children are growing in all ways and channel and know what stimuli; they need to give the children to help them thrive. There are six sensitive periods we should carefully observe from the child which is sensitive to order, learning through their five senses, sensitivity to small objects, and sensitivity to co-ordination of movement, sensitivity to language and sensitive to social aspect of life. The absorbent mind and the sensitive period work together, the absorbent mind does not discriminate what takes in the sensitive period and give absorbent mind direction. The sensitive period reaches out the absorbent mind takes it in.

The sensitive periods are differently in their teacher-training, arranging them by focus rather than by chronology. The sensitive period for order operates most actively between roughly the ages of one and three years. In this period, the child is organizing a mental schema for the world. In order for firm conclusions to be drawn about the world, the child must be able to impose an order on it in a way that makes sense to the child and is consistent with the observed world of the child. If this need is not met, the child's ability to reason and learn will be precarious, since she may not be able to consider her conclusions reliable.

During sensory refinement lasts from birth to about age four. A child takes in information about the world through his senses. As the brain develops, it becomes able to discriminate between relevant and irrelevant sensory stimuli. The most efficient way to accomplish this is for the brain to pay attention to all sensory stimuli. The most repetitive of these will strengthen neural pathways, while the less common, although initially detected, will not provide enough brain activity to develop sensitivity to them. By age 4 or so, the brain has finished its...
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