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The Sensitive Periods

Updated: May 19, 2019


The Montessori term, sensitive period is used to define a particular phase in development in which a child will be more open, interested, motivated, and capable of learning particular concepts or developing particular skills. During these sensitive periods a child could be described as having an unquenchable passion for mastering the skills or concepts of this phase.

If your child is 6-12 years you can cultivate his mind through your knowledge of the below sensitive periods:

Justice and Moral Judgments: the child is very concerned about right and wrong. He could almost be called obsessed with fair treatment and justice. At this stage the child is willing to engage in lengthy discussions on moral concepts and ethics. If handled carefully the child will emerge from this period with a deep sense of compassion,conscience, and ethics.

Suggestions: (Encourage your children to resolve conflicts themselves with friends or other family members. They need to express themselves verbally or even write on a piece of paper their thoughts to be discussed at an agreed time where you are ready to listen attentively)

• Social Relationships: the 6 – 12 year old is engaged in developing friendships and exploring relationships. It is common for this age child to form cliques and clubs with their own code of ethics and pecking order. It is important to be aware of unhealthy manifestations of this behavior, but at the same time provide ways for students to positively explore relationships. Montessori planned for this by making group process and cooperative learning an important part of the elementary class experience.

Money and Economic Value: the 6-12 year old is highly interested in the value of money. At this stage it is not clearly understood, but the child loves to count money and is fascinated by how it is earned and what it will buy.

Suggestions: (Provide the child with a pocket money weekly or daily. You can sometimes give him the one pound as a whole and another time in different coins that would have the same value of the one pound)

• The Abstract Use of the Imagination: the child at this stage is firmly grounded in reality and thus can allow her imagination to soar to the abstract. She is capable of tremendous learning through the use of imagination.

Suggestions: (Tell the children the story of the universe and how everything came to being. The timeline of human beings from stone age till present time. This will inspire the children way more Disney World fairy tales)

The Use of Tools and Machines: often there is an interest in learning how to use tools and machinery, as well as learning how and why machines work.

Suggestions: (Let them help around and show them how to use as many machines as possible)

A Sense of History and Time: The child’s ability to understand concepts of time increases at this stage, beginning with the recent past and present. With the use of the imagination the child is able to further explore the concepts of distant past and future.

A Sense of Human Culture and Membership in the Human Family: The child is interested in other cultures and easily forms positive or prejudiced attitudes toward them. The child is fascinated by the common needs of all humans and the diverse means by which these needs are met.

• A Sense of How the World Works: The child at this stage loves to explore the world and its scientific principles. He experiments and asks questions. If presented with opportunities to explore and the basics of sound scientific laws, he will form an inner picture of a logical universe. Otherwise, he may act as if basic physical laws can be suspended at will, and will remain fixed on fantasy and magic.

Most importantly the child at this age is very concerned with the "how" and "why" behind everything. Without patience the child will never develop. We need to spend more time to answer these questions than the time we spend on social media, agree? #Montessori

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