Montessori - What Are the Six Sensitive Periods?

Topics: Maria Montessori, Montessori method, Sensitive periods Pages: 5 (1769 words) Published: March 18, 2011
What are the 6 sensitive periods? Write 7 to 8 lines on each of them?

The Sensitive Periods in a child’s life was Dr. Maria Montessori’s greatest discovery. Though it was first discovered by a Dutch Scientist, Hugo de Vries, it was on animals, but Dr. Maria Montessori found the existence of this period in children too. The term “Sensitive Period” is used for a specific period of a child’s mental growth, during which the different sensibilities enable him to choose from a complex environment what is suitable and necessary for his development at that particular stage of a “Sensitive Period”. It is a limited time when the child shows a strong attraction to a particular activity. This activity helps the child and is drawn to aid the child in her physical, mental and emotional development. The child constantly performs certain activities over and over again without signs of fatigues. It is believed that children are susceptible to learning skills at specific ages. It lasts till the child has acquired or mastered the skill. These sensitive periods exist during his psycho-motor development. These periods may overlap other sensitive periods. These sensitive periods are derived from the unconscious and leads children to conscious and creative activities. During a sensitive period it is very easy for the child to acquire certain abilities, such as language. These periods are the child’s most important states of his development and create a confident adult. If the child is not helped in the right manner during these stages with the right environment it could retard the child’s spontaneous psychical development. It must be understood that adults have no direct influence on these states. To bring about the understanding and peace with the child an adult needs to understand the different expressions a child shows in his behaviour. For example when a child smiles, laughs with glees, claps his hand etc., one can understand these signs as external manifestations of a satisfied need. There are times when the child throws a ‘tantrum’ or ‘caprice’ or ‘whim’ as it may be referred to, as manifestations of an unsatisfied need. During this manifestation generally the adult almost forgets the need and tends to calm the child instead of understanding the cause of his behaviour. In the event the adult recognizes this childish caprice and moves the object or replaces the picture etc., one can then observe the immediate calmness and serenity in the child’s disposition. By the time a child is an adult the sensitive periods are over. Therefore the sensitive periods are the most important stages in the development of a child as once they transcend cannot be regained. These stages act as the foundation that is developed during the early years for further learning and acting on.

According to Dr. Maria Montessori there are six sensitive periods. They are: The period for sensitivity to order, Refinement of senses, Language, Walking, Small Objects and Social aspects.

1. Sensitivity to order: Starts from birth and peaks at 18 months to 2.5 years and prolongs to age five. This is characterized by a desire for consistency and repetition. There exists a passionate love for established routines and is when a child may seem disturbed by disorder. The “terrible twos” are often exaggerated reactions to small disruptions in order that is not perceived by adults. The environment therefore must be carefully ordered with a place for everything and with carefully established ground rules. It is also important to have external order as order in their environment where there is an appropriate place for everything as this helps the child also establish their internal order. It is when you see a child may give out a tantrum since things are out of routine and it affects their sense of order. They may at this time insist on the same routine, and at times parents don’t really have time to respect this in the busy lives. One may even see a child put things in back...
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