“A Child’s different inner sensibilities enable him to choose from his complex environment what is suitable and necessary for his growth. They make the child sensitive to some things, but leave him indifferent to others. When a particular sensitiveness is aroused in a child, it is like a light that shines on some objects but not others, making of them his whole world.”
Define the term sensitive periods, and explain how the teacher’s knowledge and understanding of these periods determines his / her preparation and custodianship of the prepared environment.
Maria Montessori believed that the child at birth possesses a pre-determined psychic pattern waiting to unfold itself. As she said:” A child possesses an active psychic life even when he cannot manifest it, and must secretly perfect this inner life over a long period of time.”(The secret of childhood) The child goes through a process of development to unfold these psychic patterns and start constructing himself. Montessori believed that the process of development through which the patterns are revealed depends on two conditions to be fulfilled; the environment where the child interacts to understand the limit of his universe and to be provided with freedom to let the child reveal himself. Also she identified two internal aids that help the child to develop; the sensitive period and absorbent mind. These aids lie within the child to drive him through this process. According to Maria Montessori, children are given special “creative sensitivities” to help them in their own power for reacting to life. She called one of these the “sensitive periods”.
Maria Montessori was affected by the Dutch biologist, Hugo de Varies who noticed the sensitive period in insects and how it helped them to fulfil their basic needs. She was convinced that children have similar sensitive periods. She defined it as: “Sensitive periods are blocks of time in a child’s life when he is absorbed with one characteristic of the...