The Sensitive Periods

December 04 2018 0 comment

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The Sensitive Periods

 

#1. Sensitivity to Touch

Children at birth take comfort in the feeling of a loving hand, as the mother caresses the child while bathing, while applying lotion or during breastfeeding. Touch is one of those gestures that eases and comforts a child. Research has proven even that touching a pre-mature baby in the incubator increases the chances of survival.

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#2. Sensitivity to Order

This appears in the first year and continues through to the second year. During this time, the child is striving to sort out and categorise all his experiences. It makes it easier for them if there is some kind of order in their lives. They liked to be cared for in the same way by a primary caregiver in a familiar environment. The child needs consistency and familiarity so that he can orientate himself and construct a mental picture of the world. This need is particularly evident in the child from about the age of 18 months. During this sensitive period change can be very upsetting for a child, even a minor change can feel like the end of the world to them. Providing order in a child’s life helps the child to become disorientated! This is why the prepared environment is so important for the young child. Order helps the child to orientate himself and organise his mind.

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#3. Sensitivity to weight

At around 1 1/2 to 2 years old, children will test their own limits. One of this is how heavy an object they can carry. Children need to fulfill this urge or sensitivity to develop the power of estimation, hence in the Montessori classroom, almost all of the didactic materials are made of wood.

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#4. Sensitivity to open and close

If you notice your children at around 1 year old when they start crawling, they will crawl to the nearest kitchen cabinet to open and close these doors. It is an urge that needs to be fulfilled, so this open and close exercises are done in the Montessori environment to fulfill such an urge.

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#5. Sensitivity to Sound

It is at the ages of birth till 6 when children are sensitive to sound. They babble before learning to utter their first word. They pick-up all the sounds that they hear in their environment to produce or make sense of the words that they hear and the world around them. That is why at this stage children can learn any number of languages if exposed and spoken to in any language. Children get to understand when a kettle boils, it is time for feeding; when the doorbell rings, that there is a visitor at the door. Sounds make him aware of all other aspects of his environment.

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#6. Sensitivity to Detail

When the child reaches its first year and becomes more mobile and has a larger environment in which to explore, he is drawn to small objects such as insects, pebbles, stones and grass. He will pick something up, look at it closely and perhaps put it in his mouth. The urge to pay attention to detail that children of his age have is part of their effort to build up an understanding of the world. This sensitive period allows children follow the Practical Life materials.

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#7. Sensitivity to move and walk

When the young child learns to walk at around 12 to 15 months, he has a need to perfect the skill, and will walk and walk as told in Maria Montessori’s book “The Secret of Childhood”. It is under estimated how long a child can walk for, once they are allowed to do it at their pace, however the adult must be aware that they have no concept of time and they love to explore. During this period the child is moving from being helpless into an active being and as we all know this is when the real fun begins!

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#8. Sensitivity to the Social Aspect of Life

At the age of about two and a half years to three years, the child becomes aware that he is part of a group. He begins to show and intense interest in other children of his own age, and gradually starts to play with them in a co-operative way. There is a sense of cohesion which Maria Montessori believed came about spontaneously and was not directed by internal drives. She noticed that at this stage, children begin to model themselves on adult social behaviour and they gradually acquire the social norms of their group. This is an ideal time for developing social convention and manners, rules, grace and courtesy are very important throughout this sensitivity. During this period you may find that children need and want to be accepted by anybody including parents, friends, family etc. Circle time, group play and Grace and Courtesy lessons are all extremely beneficial to a child in this period.

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#9. Sensitivity for language

The sensitive period for language begins at birth and go the whole way through the first plane of development (0-6 years). A baby hears his mother’s voice and watches her lips and tongue. By the age of six, with almost no direct teaching, the child will have acquired a large vocabulary, basic sentence patterns and the inflections and accents of language. He will continue to acquire more complex sentence structures and to extend his vocabulary throughout his childhood. If a child has not been exposed to language (reading, listening, singing, writing etc.) regularly, during this period he may be irrevocably damaged! Maria Montessori believed that it was particularly important for adults to converse with children throughout this period, continually enriching their language and giving them every opportunity to learn new word.

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#10. Sensitivity to Learning Through The Senses

At the age of about two and a half years to three years, the child becomes aware that he is part of a group. He begins to show and intense interest in other children of his own age, and gradually starts to play with them in a co-operative way. There is a sense of cohesion which Maria Montessori believed came about spontaneously and was not directed by internal drives. She noticed that at this stage, children begin to model themselves on adult social behaviour and they gradually acquire the social norms of their group. This is an ideal time for developing social convention and manners, rules, grace and courtesy are very important throughout this sensitivity. During this period you may find that children need and want to be accepted by anybody including parents, friends, family etc. Circle time, group play and Grace and Courtesy lessons are all extremely beneficial to a child in this period.

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#11. Sensitivity to climb

There is a period in the life of a toddler when he or she starts to discover how to climb even before he or she can walk independently. This urge must be satiated in a children as they perfect gross motor movements.

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