January 25, 2009

The Sensitive Periods

As a result of her opportunity to observe children who were free to act upon in their environment in a natural way, Maria Montessori was able to identify several Sensitive Periods that occur in every child's development. Sensitive periods are now widely accepted in the scientific community, and are sometimes referred to as critical periods, or critical windows. This link on my other blog will take you to a document about the Sensitive Periods of the First Plane of Development. Hopefully a better understanding of these periods will encourage parents to provide an environment that is supportive of the child's natural development.

January 7, 2009

The Absorbent Mind

Between birth and age six every child demonstrates an amazing capacity to learn and absorb everything they encounter in their environment. Maria Montessori coined the term "Absorbent Mind" to describe the way in which children in this period learn. She pointed out that this type of learning is completely different from the way that adults learn. Adults learn as a result of a conscious effort, but little children have the unique ability to absorb everything around them, and make it a part of themselves. This learning requires very little effort and the child who learns in this way is constructing himself. The learning that takes places before age three, is mostly unconcsious, whereas the learning between age three and six moves towards a more conscious state as time passes. This link, to my other blog, should take you to a more detailed article about the Absorbent Mind.

The Four Planes of Development

The Four Planes of Development were used by Maria Montessori to describe the path of development that every child follows, from birth to adulthood. She recognised that each period of development came with its own set of characteristics and needs. She also recognised that one could only experience complete development and fulfilment of potential if the needs of each period were fully met, before moving on to the next phase.
Please visit my other blog for the link to an article fully describing these planes.