One of the hardest things to work around as a parent and educator in a Montessori school is all of the terms Dr. Montessori used when developing the Montessori method. Today I would like to explain what sensitive periods are and why you are going to want to pay attention to them.
Sensitive periods are frequently called developmental milestones or windows of opportunity. As an infant, you don't want to miss the best time to wean your child. As a toddler, you are going to want to make sure you hit the window of opportunity for optimum toilet training, right?! The same goes for every developmental milestone: concentration, movement, language, and everything else. The years between birth and 6 are a flood of development and it is so HELPFUL to know when they are to make your life easier for both you and your child(ren). Once the sensitive period passes for a particular type of knowledge, it is much harder for the child to acquire the skill. Their minds are pre-wired to learn things in a particular order. That’s why Dr. Montessori is frequently quoted “never give more to the mind than you give to the hand.”