6 Periods of particular sensitivity in children


Montessori education is an area developed on the understanding that the child’s psychic development is based on the use of natural resources, in the form of periods favorable to the acquisition of certain skills, during which the child is interested in the acquisition and repetition of certain actions, with the aim of improving a particular skill or acquiring certain knowledge. These periods are called sensitivity periods. The term comes from Dutch scientist Hugo de Vries, who discovered periods of sensitivity in insects, while Maria Montessori discovered the existence of these periods in children as well.

period 1

According to Maria Montessori, a child is a spiritual embryo at birth. Physical development has already begun because the child is born with the organs that develop further, but in the mental sense, the child’s development is just beginning with birth. This development is carried out over certain periods, which Maria Montessori, based on previous research, has divided into:

The period from birth to six years.

Six to twelve years.

Twelve to eighteen years, with two sub periods:

Eighteen to twenty-four years.

period 2

In the period from birth to the third year, the child unconsciously absorbs impressions and events from his immediate environment, while in the period of three to six years a conscious absorbing mind emerges, with the need and capacity to actively acquire knowledge and skills.

Sensitive periods last for a certain period of time and then decrease significantly. During one period, the child selects certain objects from the environment and develops them actively using them. The child’s interest in a particular activity and the persistent repetition of that activity, followed by satisfaction, are a sure sign that the child is in one of the periods of sensitivity.

When in a period of sensitivity, the child learns more quickly and easily about the world around him, without getting tired, compared to other periods in life when the same activities require extra effort.

period 3

Maria Montessori revealed the existence of six periods of sensitivity:

  1. A period for the development of order and orderliness, which lasts until the second year and longer. This refers to order in the child’s environment with regard to the existence of a stable, nurturing, constant environment, harmonious relationships and clear rules, which result in the development of order in the child’s brain and orderly personality building.
  2. The period for the development of the senses runs from birth to the age of eight. Through the senses, the child explores the world from birth, and from the moment he begins to crawl and walk, coordination develops between the different senses. The senses can be developed and perfected by a stimulating and appropriate environment. Montessori pedagogy is based on the education of the senses, that is, allowing the child to recognize and sort the sensory representations in an orderly manner.
  3. The language development period runs from birth to the age of five. The child from a large number of sounds from his environment encountered from birth isolates only those related to human language and at some point begins to reproduce them. A child who is not exposed to appropriate spoken language during this period of sensitivity will not be able to make up for it and his/her intellectual development will be limited.
  4. The period for the development and coordination of movements lasts from birth to the age of eight, when the child needs to learn to use the body, arms and walk properly and efficiently to explore the outside world. A child of two and three years can walk without being tired, provided he is walking at his own pace and has the opportunity to stop and see what he is interested in.
  5. The period of interest in small objects and details occurs around the first year of life, so insects, stones, flowers, crumbs, but also details on a child’s clothing are interesting and are part of the child’s effort to build an understanding of the world around him.
  6. The period of social development begins only from the third year when the child becomes aware that he/she is part of the group and when he/she begins to develop relationships with others.
period 4

If parents as well as  teachers adequately and at the right time notice periods of special sensitivity in children, if they give adequate incentives and help to develop periods of sensitivity in them, they will be formed into self-aware, confident and complete personalities in the future and will progress much better in all aspects of their development.

period 5