Before we read on the subject of sensitive period, we must agree that there is a child in each and every one of us, from which the man or woman has come. There was a period in our lives where we were so sensitive to certain aspects of development, we grew so quickly and learn so well, our parents had no idea how to explain it.
Special presents were given to us: guitar, panio, keyboard, roller blade, bicycle, skipping rope, tape recorder and marbles. Some of the famous musicians remember having their first guitar when they were as young as 5 years old or first piano at 3 years old.
For the child under the age of 6 years old, the sensitive periods are:
- The development of sensory perception (birth-5 years old)
- Language (3 months – 5 / 5.5 years old) Order (1-3 years old)
- Small detail (beigns at 2 years old)
- Co-ordination of movement (begins around 2.5 years old); and
- Social relation (begins around 2.5 years old).
When a child appears to act on impulse like giggling, climbing,babbling, wiggling, hopping, clapping and stamping his feet each action is a deliberate response to an attraction to certain elements in the environment like the bargain hunter feasting on sales.
This implies presence of sensibility, which defines a child’s unconscious effort to grow and construct his inner mental and physical psyche, acting on impulse. As long as the sensibility is present, the child acts according to a particular behaviour which then lasts for a definite and limited time. “Oh he’s laughing now. Isn’t that cute?” When he starts to walk, he balances his body on his two chubby legs and opens his arms trying to take the first small steps forward. This is all about sensitivity to the co-ordination of movement of his limbs.
Everything he needs to grow comes in phases and when we allow nature to take its course, they will grow better and happier. This is because they have a better control of their own movements and learn to integrate with the social environment.
Proof of these periods ‘may be known from observation but not from experiment’.
We have to follow the child so to speak. Sensibility is astonishing when it emerges: when spotted and observed scientifically, we are delighted and entertained by the small surprises. For example, a child in a sensitive period for small objects can spot an airplane in the night sky, a dead ant in a bowl of beef stew and a strand of hair in the bubble bath.
When he is sensitive to language, he repeats words with great effort. He experiments on his skills with great effort and much pleasure:”Mummy! Pleeeeease………..may I watch Disney channel?” When a child can make repeat sounds from different languages or play a musical instrument without ever attending classes, it was not just a moment of sensitivity that has emerged; it is a special talent.
This post is extract from a course work: Montessori Method Of Education.
“What is the purpose of Sensorial Material?” Describe the essential qualities needed in any sensorial apparatus.