The Stages of development according to Dr. Montessori and an explanation of what happens during each “re-birth”. Dr. Montessori defined 4 stages of development. She identified that within these stages of development it is intense at the beginning, consolidates and then tapers to the next stage. She talks about the re-birth of a child and describes it like passing through a kind of metamorphosis. The 1st and 3rd stages are periods of intense creation, while the 2nd and 4th stages are the calm periods of consolidation. The key to all the stages of development is the individual’s need for independence. This is expressed differently throughout the various different stages. Dr.Montessori believed that every child goes through a period of growth where they experience a substantial transformation; she calls this a re-birth. This happens as the child moves from one stage of development into another. Just by looking at the child one can see how their characteristics have changed. The child goes through a physical metamorphose and starts to look differently and behave differently. It may almost seem as though it is a different child. They also go through a psychological metamorphose in the way in which they learn changes. Dr Montessori uses the example of the butterfly; “As it grows it retains for a period the same form and with it a whole group of characteristics, which remain constant for a definite epoch. Then comes a period of transition, brief and critical and out comes a butterfly”. Maria Montessori, Her life and works, E.M Standling. The four stages of development are 0-6 years, 6-12 years, 12-18years and 18-24 years. However, Dr. Montessori noticed that in each stage of development is sub-divided. She believed that in the first sub-stage the foundations were being laid down (0-3 yrs, 6-9yrs, 12-15yrs, 18-21yrs). Then in the second sub-stage (3-6yrs, 9-12 yrs, 15-18 yrs, 21-24yrs) all that was established in the previous three years is consolidated and refined. We will now explore the various different stages.
The first stage of development is – 0- 6yrs. It is the early childhood stage, where the individual creation of the person is taking place. This stage is characterized as the “Absorbent Mind” in which the mind of the child is like a sponge, absorbing everything that is in their environment. “There is in a child a special kind of sensitivity which leads him to absorb everything about him, and it is this work of observing and absorbing that alone enables him to adapt himself to life”. The Absorbent Mind, Maria Montessori, 1967. From the ages 0-3 the mind of the child is unconscious. The child is constantly absorbing impressions from the environment without even knowing. For example; if one looks at babies they are constantly observing everything around them. They watch and listen to everything and have the ability to concentrate on one thing for a considerable length of time. By doing this they are consolidating large amounts of valuable information in their environment. In addition, during this period the intelligence of the child and other psychic abilities are being constructed. In fact their whole creation is being formed. According to Montessori this could only happen with an unconscious mind. “We adults are conscious that we have will and when we learn something we deliberately set about it. But there is no consciousness in the small child; no will” Maria Montessori, Her life and works. E.M standing. During this first sub-period the child starts to become more independent, as they become mobile and learn how to walk. The basic hand-eye co-ordination of the child is also being formed. For example: a small child is always picking things up and dropping them. Through this form of repetition, they are learning how to manipulate with their hand. They learn how to communicate with basic speech, allowing them to express their likes and dislikes. At this stage they are learning the basic tools of social...
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