Skip to main content

What is a Sensitive Period? 15+ Articles on Montessori Sensitive Periods

One of the most foundational parts of Montessori are sensitive periods. Maria Montessori identified that children pass in and out of sensitive periods throughout their childhood. By understanding sensitive periods, we can get a better idea of what our children might be attracted to in our environments. We can get a deeper understanding of their behavior and what they need from us.

Sensitive periods were a time during a child’s development where the child was particularly attracted to a certain developmental skills. Dr. Montessori found that during sensitive period a child can learn these skills with ease. Her materials were then crafted to meet the children's needs during these special times

I like to think of it this way — imagine a brightly lit room. In the room you can see all the things clearly and understand them without much effort. Everything is illuminated and attractive. Now, imagine the same room with the lights turned off. You can still discover the things inside the room, it just takes more effort. The room is not as attractive and you may not want to stay in it for as long.



This room is just like a sensitive period. When your child is in a sensitive period, it is like being in the room with the lights on. Your child can clearly see, explore and discover The skills related to that sensitive period.  If your child is not in the sensitive period For that skill, your child can still discover and learn that information it just might not be as attractive or easy as it would be during the sensitive period.


There are many sensitive periods that have been identified for children, especially those in the first plane of development. It can be difficult to sum up all the properties of these periods and so I put together a list of some of my favorite articles that explain sensitive periods more in depth.

Here are some resources to learn more about Montessori sensitive periods! I hope these help you get a fuller understanding of how sensitive periods work and how to support and identify them. 

Sensitive Periods Generally

THE MONTESSORI SENSITIVE PERIODS - Baan Dek
The Ten Secrets of Montessori-#4 Sensitive Periods - Age of Montessori
What Are Sensitive Periods? - Montessori In Real Life
The Sensitive Periods - Montessori Daoshi
What Are Sensitive Periods? - Maren Schmidt
Sensitive Periods at 14 months? - How We Montessori
ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD’S SENSITIVE PERIODS - Living Montessori Now
Sensitive Periods - Montessori Parenting
Maria Montessori and her ‘Sensitive Periods' - I am Montessori
The Sensitive Period for Age 6-12 - Country Village Montessori School

Readings On Specific Sensitive Periods 

Understanding & Supporting a Child’s Sensitive Period for Order - This Merry Montessori
The Sensitive Periods: Movement - Montessori Daoshi
Sensitive Period For Language (Birth To 6 Years) - Daily Montessori
The Sensitive Period to Order, or Why Won't My Kid Just Use a Different Spoon? - Montessori Daoshi
MONTESSORI: SENSORY PERCEPTION - Swiss Lark
Playing with Dust: The Sensitive Period for Small Thing - More Than Just Montessori
The Mathematical Mind - Greenspring Montessori School

A look at the Montessori sensitive periods plus further reading for understanding how they influence a child's developmental needs


Do you have other articles that you would add to this list? 

---

Comments

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2019

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2019 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 


So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 


First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Sensitive Periods from Birth to 6 - A Chart and Guide

Dr. Maria Montessori spent her life observing, studying, and writing about children. During her lifetime of work she discovered that young children move through a series of special times when they are particularly attracted to specific developmental needs and interests. She called these times, sensitive periods. During the sensitive period, children learn skills related to the sensitive period with ease. They don't tire of that work, but seek it, crave it and need it. When the sensitive period passes, this intense desire is gone, never to return. 

That doesn't mean the skill is lost forever once the sensitive period is over. Instead, it just means that it will take a more conscious effort to learn. As Dr. Montessori explains, 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.
"A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. These are like a beam that lights interiorly a battery that furnishes energy. It is this sensibility which enables a…

Working from Home with Kids - A Montessori Schedule

One part of my life that I haven't talked a ton about here on The Kavanaugh Report is how I'm a work-from-home parent. Eight years ago I started to work at home while parenting full time. For the first several years, I worked as a legal writer while maintaining this space on the side. When Gus was born, I moved into working on sharing our Montessori life full time. It has blossomed into a full time career sharing content here, teaching courses, and now the podcast! Through it all, my kids have been home with me. 
This all seems more relevant to so many of us now that Covid-19 has closed schools and forced parents to stay at home and work while caring for children. I'm not going to lie - it's tough. It's hard to balance work and kids, especially when children are used to a completely different routine. But, it's not impossible! And, it can even be enjoyable. 

As I talk about in my podcast Shelf Help, we block our days into 3 hours groups. It helps me remain fle…