Q1 what are the six sensitive periods? Write 7-8 lines on each of them. Answer. After working with children from all backgrounds, Maria Montessori concluded that despite their differences all children experience a time span when he/she acquires specific knowledge from his surroundings through his focused activities and that too without getting bored and tired. This time span or time periods are called as the sensitive periods. As and when the need of knowledge and understanding has been fulfilled, a child’s sensitivity naturally moves on to acquiring a new one. Thus, Maria Montessori observed six sensitive periods. They are as follows;
1. Sensitivity to Order
2. Sensitivity for refinement of senses
3. Sensitivity to Language
4. Sensitivity for walking
5. Sensitivity for small objects
6. Sensitivity to social aspects of life.
1. Sensitivity to Order: Appears in child’s 1st year and continues through the 4th year. Order is a sensitive period that exemplifies a child’s desire for consistency and repetition, along with established routines. The child has two different perspectives to order, the external order which relates to his/her environment and the inner order which makes him/her aware of his/her own external body parts and their relative position.
A child who goes through this period can be extremely affected by disorder. The environment for this period should accommodate the need of order. During this period, the child desires to sort out and sequence everything that is appropriately placed for him/her to do so. Eventually this sense of order will become a permanent part of him/her. Stacking cups, resting stackers are great material to promote order.
2. Sensitivity for refinement of senses: It begins from the time a child crawls till the 8th yr. of his age. Refinement of the senses is a fascination with the five human senses i.e., the taste, sound, touch, smell and vision. In order to interact with the environment, children need to use their senses. The sharper the senses, the more information children can program in their mind. And it will stay so throughout their adult years. In this period the children also begin to co-ordinate the interaction between all the senses. Feel and touch books and boards, smelling bottles etc are good to enhance the sensing activity in children.
3. Sensitivity to language: This period lasts from the birth to 6yrs. A child begins his/her journey towards acquiring language by listening and observing others speak in their environment. And almost magically, a child babbles his/her first words. Soon he/she starts constructing grammatically correct phrases and sentences. All of this has developed as a result of the child’s inner need towards acquiring language. Dr. Montessori says that if for any reason a child is not exposed to language during sensitive period, he/she will suffer limitation in his/her intellectual growth that can never be totally compensated. First picture word books are good to promote sensitivity to language.
4. Sensitivity for walking: This period starts from 1yr. onwards. No other mammal has to learn to walk. Walking develops without it being taught. A child becomes frustrated when an adult impedes his motion by picking him/her up. A child walks to perfect his walking, whereas we walk to go someplace. Once the child has done perfecting to walk, it’s time to jump, hop, skip, climb, carry things, and balance objects etc. Balance beam, slides etc. are good to promote sensitivity for walking.
5. Sensitivity for small objects: From 1yr. till 4yrs. After perfecting to walk, a child focuses on using his/her hand. He/she wants to pick up small objects e.g. Small insects, pebbles, stones, grass etc. Thus he/she tries to refine his/her hand-eye co-ordination. The sensitive period for small objects also describes a child’s fixation on small things and tiny details. Thus, this is the child’s effort to build-up an understanding of the world.
6. Sensitivity to social aspects: It starts from about 21/2 yrs. Through 6yrs. At this age children starts understanding that they are a part of a group and thus begin to co-operate with others. This allows him/her to be safe and socially acceptable in his environment. Any deprivation of social interaction during this period will make him/her less socially confident and uncomfortable around others.
Play dates, group activities are good to promote sensitivity to social aspects. All the learning that happens during the sensitive period of a child can happen quietly and unnoticed as long as the environment satisfies the child’s needs. Child’s learning during these stages is the foundation upon which much of their future gets built.
Q2. What are the three stages of child development? Write two paragraphs on each of the two sub-phases of the first stage: 0 to 6 years.
Answer: Child development stages are developmental milestones or specific achievement that children reach by a certain age. The three stages of child development are:- 1. First stage( 0 to 6years): – It has two sub phases:
a. 0 to 3years
b. 3 to 6 years
2. Second stage (6 to 12 years): This is a stage when a child is calm, happy, and self assured. They seek the company of their friends.
3. Third stage( 12 to 18years ): It has two sub phases:
a. 12 to 15years(Puberty)
b. 15 to 18years(Adolescent)
There is a transformation in both physical and mental development of the child in this stage.
1. First stage: This stage is between 0 to 6years. It has two sub phases. The sensitive periods are the strongest in this stage.
The sub phase 0 to 3years is also called as the unconscious absorbent mind. The child has a mind that cannot be taught by direct methods of teaching. Thus, there are no schools for this age children. Whatever the child learns is unconsciously from his environment by using his sense of seeing and hearing. Provision of a suitable environment greatly helps a child in this stage.
The sub phase 3 to 6years is also called as the conscious absorbent mind. Child becomes receptive to adult influence. The child starts developing a personality by remembering and using what he learnt in first 3years of his/her life. The sense of touch is coordinated with the mind. Hands become a main tool of learning. This stage is also a time for social development and making friends.
Q3. Write a short note on:
A) Natural laws of development B) Characteristics of child development
A) Natural laws of development
Child development refers to the physical, mental and emotional changes that occur in human beings between birth and the end of adolescence, as the individual progresses from being dependent to being independent. According to the laws of growth and development “Man creates himself”. The child is the constructor and maker of the adult or as to say father of the man. In the prenatal period the child has established all the vital organs which after birth are developed enough for survival. Nature has its own laws regarding what the human being should achieve, when and how. Genetics also plays its critical part. It is difficult for us to decide when we adults can and should take over the tasks hitherto done by nature.
For example: a child cannot be forced to start walking before the right stage. Thus it’s for the parents and educators to provide a suitable environment, where a child will be free to develop, to learn to walk and explore and thus growing within the laws of natural development. The natural development of children proceeds through several distinct stages of development, each one having its own unique conditions and sensitive periods for acquiring basic knowledge in the developmental process. We cannot interfere with these laws of growth. We are facilitators and observers only. And each child has their own stages of learning and understanding the world around. B) Characteristics of child development
Human development has two aspects- physical and mental or psychical. Dr. Maria Montessori identified certain human characteristics and they are- self preservation, orientation to the environment, communication, order, exploration, work or purposeful activity, exactness, repetition, abstraction etc. These human characteristics are the driving behavior in every stage of development of a child, and education should respond to and facilitate their expression.
A well prepared environment is what is needed so that specific characteristics of a child at different ages are given a free expression. Its function will be to allow a child to develop wholly and independently in all areas. Education is not about a certain curriculum to be completed in a certain class and age; instead it is about developing a child into a whole human being by letting the child learn without force. The child will be stimulated to develop to his/her full potential as per his/her innate characteristics because of this prepared environment.