sensitive Period According to Montessori and Why is it Important in Child Development
Sensitive Period or Critical Period in Early Childhood - Why is it Important
Sensitive periods in a child's life are like windows of opportunities a child gets to learn different skills. The child is extra sensitive to the stimuli it gets to learn a particular skill at those periods. If they are missed, if the child does not get those stimuli, the opportunity is missed forever. This is an important thing to understand and as adults we must be aware so that we can provide help to the child when needed.
The term "sensitive Period" was first coined by Dutch geneticist, Hugo De Vries. He found that in nature different species show a heighten sensitivity to learn a specific skill at a particular period in their lives. For example, there is a special kind of song birds who learns this skill when they are about 20 days old. If the young bird is prevented to listen, it will never be able to sing later. Many other species in nature show this trait too.
Dr. Maria Montessori, with extensive observational studies with young children concluded that human beings too show the same characteristics. There are definite sensitive periods in children's lives when they are extra sensitive to particular stimuli in their environment. Children absorb this opportunity and through repeated experiences do master the skills. There is an innate intrinsic motivation to learn that skill which is never the same at another time in the child's life.
If the child misses that stimulation or is prevented from practicing the skill it may be difficult or even impossible to develop that certain function later in life.
This profound theory is later supported by many researchers. They termed it "Critical Period"
Carla Shatz, developmental neurobiologist explains:
"There are limits to the brain's ability to create itself. Time limits. Called "critical periods", they are windows of opportunities that nature...