Montessori wrote about “The Secret of Childhood”. Describe what she meant by this.
In one of Dr. Maria Montessori’s book, “The Secret of Childhood” where she continued and further elaborated her work on child development, one of her important findings in her research was “Sensitivity Period” in the child. These are important periods of childhood development. A sensitive period is a period of time when a child passes through special times in his life and spends much of his time to focus on one certain skill or activity. She felt that this was importantly true during the first few years of the physic life, from birth or even before the birth until the brain of the child had completely developed. In her observation, she noticed that the child is particularly sensitive to certain types of interaction during certain overlapping periods. The child is able to acquire certain abilities and to learn certain skill quicker and more effectively.This special time in his life enables him to incorporate a particular skill into his schema easily if the child allowed utilising his ability and practicing it exhaustively during this sensitive period.This is a basic instinct reflecting the child personal need for that acquisition in order to live in this new world. However, once the sensitive period for a particular ability is over, the child is still capable of learning it but with more efforts putting it and will be more of challenge at a subsequent time. It is important for the adults to observe their child and take advantage of the sensitive period; it is often that adults do not realize this special times in their child, perhaps merely because they do not remember them in themselves when they are too busy to earn for a living. If the adults pay more attention to the child’s sensitive period, it will help to foster the independence and brings the sense of satisfaction to the child. At the opposite site, if the adults forego this opportunity, a thwarted sensitive period will manifest itself in a cranky child. Montessori described these as “tantrums of the sensitive periods (as) external manifestations of an unsatisfied need.” (The Secret of Childhood, Part 1, Chapter 3, Page 44)According to Dr Maria Montessori’s finding, the child will pass through six significant sensitive periods from age birth to six years old; those for order, sensorial experiment and refinement through five senses, social behaviour, refinement of motor skills and movement, sensitivity to small objects and language. During the period of unconscious mind creation, the child acquires the above mentioned abilities and later on he concentrates on refining these newly acquired skills during the conscious period.
During the sensitivity to order period, the child operates this period most actively in his first three year of physic life. The child shows the need for order and seeks for it in order for him to acclimate himself to his environment through the period of unconscious creation. It is crucial for the child to be able to impose an order on it in a way that makes sense to him while the child is observing his world through his “absorbent mind” before he can incarnates it in his life. This is equally important for the child develops a feeling of security when he is comfortable with the sameness and order that happen around him. There are two fold sense of order, according to Dr Maria Montessori. First is external, whereby the child relationship with his environment, and second is internal that brings an awareness of different parts of the child’s own body and their relative positions. For the youngest child, he does not realize he is separate from his surroundings, until the order around him helps him make the distinction. Thus, his internal orientations are creates through the external order surrounding him. The child has a strong belonging of both place and of time. Everything should have a place and this sameness will settle the child in a routine life more...
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