Children are driven unconsciously, by an inner force, to develop particular skills at particular phases in their growth. Dr. Maria Montessori called these phases Sensitive Periods. During these periods, your child has a strong desire to learn particular skills, and does so in a seemingly effortless manner. Once the sensitive period is gone, the ease of acquiring the knowledge disappears and does not return. If your child does not have access to the materials he needs at the time of the Sensitive Period, it becomes more difficult for him to learn that same skill at a later time. The Chart of Sensitive Periods, can be used as a basic guideline to determine when your child may be ready to learn and when to introduce new concepts and activities.
Observe your child to see what he or she is focused on and follow that interest. Watch for cues as they arise and offer activities that coordinate with that interest. Your child may ask you if he can pour his own juice, or point to a plate of cookies and ask how many there are, or point to a word and ask what it says. Do not insist that your child do a particular activity. Instead, ask him or her “Would you like to do this or try that?” If you try to engage your child in an activity and there is no interest just put it away, you can try again at another time. By observing your child’s interests, you will be right much more often than you are wrong about the activities your child is interested in.
During the first six years, it is important to lead children towards independence by helping them master daily life tasks (Montessori Practical Life Exercises) such as pouring their own juice, combing their hair, getting dressed, taking care of plants, helping in the kitchen, and many more. Ask your child “Would you like to help me fold the laundry, sort socks, set the table?” For best results, when showing your child a new skill or activity, think of each and every step, then demonstrate it s-l-o-w-l-y. Use as little talking as possible. Fewer distractions will help him or her concentrate on the task.
Helpful tips to help find appropriate learning materials for your child.
- If your child shows an interest in a topic, think of as many activities as you can to support it. If your son loves airplanes, take a trip to the airport; go to the library to find factual books about airplanes, make a paper airplane and fly it, etc.
- Search the internet to find sites with age appropriate information on specific subjects. A mother planted seeds with her children then found a worksheet on parts of a plant for her children to study and colour. You can try “goggling” worksheets for kids.
- Look for games that teach motor coordination, thinking skills, i.e., colours, counting, shapes, etc. Look for toys that focus on one concept only.
- Avoid toys with bells, whistles, and music that distract children from focusing a concept.
- Go to the library and find informational books for your child for children crave for information
- Remember that young children learn by manipulating objects.
- Talk to other mothers and share ideas.
”If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence”. By Dorothy Law Nolte from her poem Children Learn What They Live.
-culled from montessoriathome.blogspot.com