Montessori Stages of Development for Early Learning

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Sensitive Periods of Development

Strike up a conversation with any practiced Montessorian and, sooner or later, the words "sensitive periods" will likely crop up. So, what are these discussion-inspiring sensitive periods, and why are they so important? As Mary Ellen Maunz, Master Montessori Teacher and Founder of Age of Montessori, states, "a sensitive period is a [child's] burning fire of interest in something, during the period of time that a child acquires a new specific skill."

Put another way, sensitive periods are developmental windows of opportunity during which children have an especially strong interest toward a specific concept or skill. During these sensitive periods, children absorb the corresponding concepts easily and naturally. Each child will go through the same sensitive periods at approximately the same age. Knowing what to expect allows us (parents, teachers, grandparents, and caregivers) to anticipate and provide the necessary environment to fulfill the child's needs.

The child has a creative aptitude, a potential energy that will enable it to build up a mental world from the world about it. He makes numerous acquisitions during the sensitive periods, which put him in relation to the other world in an exceptionally intense manner. ~Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood

Maria Montessori was the first to identify and document the developmental sensitive periods of children. Since that time (nearly 100 years ago,) study after study has substantiated her findings. Age of Montessori has created the easy-to-read graphic below to help illustrate these important concepts.

Πηγή: Age Of Montessori