Montessori Sensitive Periods And How To Implement Them At Home

What Are Montessori Sensitive Periods?

Within Maria Montessori’s framework due to her studies with children, she has observed the occurrence of sensitive periods. In other pedagogies it can get called developmental milestones or windows of opportunities. It is those periods in the child’s life when a certain ability manifests itself strongly. During these periods the child has an especially strong sensitivity towards a particular piece of knowledge or skill. The sensitivity lasts for a certain period and does not reoccur.

Simply it is a period of time in which the child concentrates mainly on one aspect of his environment and excludes everything else. This is when we see a child repeatedly does an activity with passion and conviction per se, and it seems like nothing can deter them to accomplishing that task until it is satisfied. It is a time of intense concentration and mental activity on developing a particular skill at that particular time, age / phase in growth. It is driven unconsciously by an inner force that the best way an adult can support this passion is to prepare the environment and encourage this special time of learning.

This can also be used as basic guidelines as to when a child is ready to learn and when to introduce certain items to children. This can also be determined by observing the child for when they are focused on a certain type of work and follow the child’s interest.

“The child has a creative aptitude, a potential energy that will enable it to build up a mental world from the world about it. He makes numerous acquisitions during the sensitive periods, which put him in relation to the other world in an exceptionally intense manner.” The Secret of Childhood by Maria Montessori.

The following are the Sensitive Periods for Children Aged from Birth to 6 years of Age:

Sensitive Period for Order (age 18 months to 2 years)
Sensitive Period for Language (birth to 6 years)
Sensitive Period for Movement (birth to 4 years)
Sensitive Period for Refinement of the Senses (birth to 5 years)
Sensitive Period for Weaning (5 to 6 months)
Sensitive Period for Numbers (4 to 5.5 years)
Sensitive Period for Manners and Courtesies (2 to 6 years)

17 Comments on Montessori Sensitive Periods And How To Implement Them At Home

  1. Dr maria montessory thank you soon much for this method . previously I have not treated my children well but I just finished reading this material and very enlightened now. God bless MONTESSORY

  2. hi i am slightly confused over the mentioned sensitive periods…. as i am only reading this up online….
    Order over here is stated between 18 m to 2 y and in another source it is between 2 y to 4 y like wise there is no mention of sensitive period of music…. can you help with elaborating all possible sensitive periods….

    – Renee, India

  3. Montessori system is great.I am working with the youngest (2.5-3.5 years) and i believe that i am going through the most beautiful phase of my life.

  4. Great Info. My students here at University of Education (Lahore, Pakistan) have learned a lot about Montessori ideas & their applications in real life from your interesting & informative blog. Especially my male students are amazed to learn. -:)

  5. Hey Kristy, my son did the same! now he is 28 months and still hasn’t returned to the potty/toilet. i guess they go back to it in time…i do the same as you: talking to him about toileting and asking if he needs to go, to run to the toilet or potty. and if i need to go i tell him, and verbalise that i have to go to the toilet to do it (hoping that will catch on, that if you have to go, you go to that place!). also, must say if he takes off his trainer pants and runs around naked, he’ll now utter “mama” just before he wees on the floor! i say to him then, oh, next time we’ll go to the potty! let’s get a cloth and wipe this up!

    hope i’m doing the right thing! :)

  6. is anything said about a sensitive period for toilet training? My 21 month old began telling me about ‘poo poo’ at 17 months and was very interested in the whole toilet process including sitting on it. We gave him plenty of positive reinforcement and everything was going really well, then one day at around 20 months he just refused to use the toilet and won’t use it since. I keep asking if he wants to use the toilet but have not forced the issue.

  7. I found this site very interesting, I presently study to become a assistant guide. This site is wonderful. Montessori method is from far the best way to respond to the needs that our children have. Knowing what is a child in is integral aspect, would really help to understand them and help them to become…leaders of tomorrow!

  8. I run a montessori ‘First Steps’ in dubai since last year, its amazing to see the positive effects of montessori education on overall development of children, i regret i didn’t know about it when my own children needed it. I Love Montessori Method

  9. My son was planning to marry & I decided to study Montessori in readiness for the grandchildren. I’m just loving it & wished I had used it on my kids. Thank You

  10. I love, love, love your whole site. My daughter-in-law works and is studying Montessori and I type her assignments.

    It’s midnight in Australia and I just can’t stop reading all this. So great. Thank you

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