What Are Montessori Sensitive Periods?
While Maria Montessori studied children’s learning habits, she observed sensitive periods of learning in their development. In other pedagogies they can also be called developmental milestones or windows of opportunities. It is within these periods of the child’s life whenspecific abilities & skills manifests themselves most strongly. During these periods the child has an especially strong sensitivity towards particular pieces of knowledge or skills. The sensitivity lasts for a certain period anddoes not reoccur.
Simply put, it is a period of time inwhich the child concentrates mainly on one aspect of their environment and excludes everything else. This is when we see a child repeating an activity with passion and conviction and it seems like nothing can deter them from accomplishing that task until it is complete. It is a time of intense concentration and mental activity focused on developing a particular skill at that particular time, age/phase of growth. It is driven unconsciously by an inner force. The best way aparent or teacher can support this passion is to prepare the environment and encourage this special time of learning.
These can also be used as basic guidelines for when a child is ready to learn and when to introduce certain items and activities to children. This can also be determined by observing the child for when they are focused on a certain type of work and by following the child’s interest.
The following are the Sensitive Periods for children birth to 6 years of age:
Sensitive Period for Order (age 18 months to 2 years)
Sensitive Period for Language (birth to 6 years)
Sensitive Period for Movement (birth to 4 years)
Sensitive Period for Refinement of the Senses (birth to 5 years)
Sensitive Period for Numbers (4 to 5.5 years)
Sensitive Period for Reading (4.5 to 5.5 years)
Sensitive Period for Manners and Courtesies (2 to 6 years)
Sensitive Period for Writing (3.5 to 4.5 years)