‘….the child goes through a transformation. Impressions do not merely enter his mind; they form it. They incarnate themselves in him. The child creates his own ‘mental muscles’, using for this what he finds in the world about him. We have named this type of mentality, The Absorbent Mind’. (Montessori, Absorbent mind pg.24)
According to Montessori’s research, birth to 6 years is the most important stage of a human being. She calls this period of life ‘The absorbent mind’. At this stage the child possesses powers which force him to adapt to his environment and also to learn language and physical skills. This essay is an attempt to explore ‘The Absorbent mind’ in a child and to understand how it helps a child gain his personality, independence and intelligence. Also, we will explore how parents and teachers need to help and guide a child during this period to optimise his/her development.
What is the ‘Absorbent mind’?
Geddes and Grosset’s dictionary defines ‘Absorbent’ and ‘Mind’ as,
Absorbent: Imbibing; swallowing; able to soak up moisture
Mind: The intellectual faculty or power; intellect; reason; understanding; inclination; opinion; memory
At birth a child is helpless and needs constant care and support from his mother for survival. Within days or hours after birth the child will begin to develop his personality and this can be observed in the way each newborn bonds and responds with their parents. Soon his movement will begin to be more controlled and within a year he will begin to walk. By 2 years he will speak his mother tongue competently. How does he do this? This is a great power a child is born with, a power to learn from nothing. All this is not done consciously but with what is called the ‘unconscious mind’. This type of mind is also called the ‘absorbent mind’. It is a psychic force which makes it possible for the child to absorb and to understand the environment to which he or she has come into.
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