The Phenomenon of the Absorbent Mind

The Phenomenon of the Absorbent Mind

  • Submitted By: monkeybum
  • Date Submitted: 11/21/2010 1:01 AM
  • Category: Philosophy
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Karin Saunders

Due Date: 1 May 2010

The Phenomenon of the Absorbent Mind

After observing children, Maria Montessori noticed that children from birth till six years of age (in the first plane of development) learnt effortlessly in such an intense way that left them feeling refreshed. She called this phenomenon the “Absorbent Mind”.

This ability of the young child to absorb (combine into itself) information is in direct contrast to that of an older child or adult, who needs to use a great deal of effort to learn new things. This unconscious will to learn is driven and guided by the horme, which is present in the child’s psyche at birth and drives the child to become independent. It is the absorbent mind that transfers the helpless infant into a young child with the necessary physical and mental abilities required for human existence.

It is in the First Plane of Development (0-3 years) that Maria Montessori noticed the unconscious learning that was taking place. During this period all details and impressions become engraved into the child’s very being, through repetition and thereby creating his personality. The child makes use of all his senses to observe emotions, behaviours and the culture in his environment forming the mneme or unconscious memory. As the ability to absorb these details is naturally active in each child, they cannot be taught by an adult. Maria Montessori called this quiet absorption “the Secret of Childhood”.

It is through various sensitive periods that the mystery of the absorbent mind is revealed. This is when the child unconsciously desires to learn a new skill. The sensitive periods could be described as internal aids that help in the development of a child’s personality. It is during a sensitive period that a child learns a new skill effortlessly through the process of absorption.

“Impressions do not merely enter his mind, they form it, they incarnate themselves in him” [1]

However if the child’s needs are not...

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