One often hears pediatricians and parents speak about developmental milestones. This could be in reference to an infant rolling over for the first time or to a child learning to walk.
Maria Montessori speaks about these milestones in a different way. She calls them Sensitive Periods.
She observed that children go through phases in which they are especially interested in one task or learning one skill. They may sing a song over and over, or stack blocks again and again.
Have you observed your child or students going through sensitive periods?
This is one of the main tasks for Montessori teachers. They must carefully observe children and support whatever period they are going through at the moment.
For example, a child between the ages of 18 months to 2 years might be sensitive to order. They may crave order and routine, from putting a coat on the same way everyday to eating the same lunch!
Older children may be experiencing sensitivity to language, specifically writing or reading. Providing guidance during this period is important for a child’s language skills to really blossom!
Children pass through sensitive periods at different times and in no particular order. The challenge for the parent or educator is to keenly observe a child’s behavior and discover what they are telling you about their own development!
As Montessori says, “Follow the child.”
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