Sensitive Periods - Positve and Negative Manifestations

When recognized and responded to appropriately, there are several positive manifestations of the sensitive periods, However, when sensitive periods are ignored or not otherwise fulfilled, this need of the child becomes like a hunger.

  • deep concentration on the part of the child, as is usually first seen when a very young infant focuses for so long on human speech.
  • tremendous activity and repetition of specific activities, particularly work with his hands.
  • The child demonstrates great joy and he will reach a perfect acquisition of the skill he is working on.
            “Such then are the positive proofs of a child’s creative sensibilities, but there are also other, much more obvious, but negative proofs, of it. These become manifest when some obstacle impedes a child’s inner functioning. A sensitive period can then reveal itself in the child’s violent reaction.”   Maria Montessori. The Secret of Childhood. 1966. 44. The “some obstacle” to which Montessori refers can be an inappropriate environment or an adult not understanding the child’s particular needs of the moment, or an interruption from a developing state of concentration.

  • The seeming naughtiness is actually an inner disturbance and unsatisfied need, of which the child cannot yet verbally or authoritatively express.
  • Tantrums, or naughtiness, are frustration, negative behavior, aggression or apathy.

The child’s energy, when interfered with or not given proper direction, is diverted into a negative direction, off the normal path of development. The cure for this deviation is purposeful work or activity associated with the sensitive period at hand, within an environment which allows for development of the above positive manifestations.

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