Scientific evidence for the sensitive periods that Montessori observed.

This chart is from Harvard University and is based on neurological research evidence that shows ‘sensitive periods’ for learning/refining specific abilities of the brain. In my work with parents, I often find myself explaining that the ‘evidence’ we see (observable behaviour) is only the end-point of a whole process – and that the child’s development is a long way ahead of this observable evidence.

Here is the chart from Harvard University: “Neural Connections for Difference Functions Develop Sequentially”.

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And here is a chart of the Montessori sensitive periods:

On the first chart, it shows the development of the structures of the brain related with those specific functions (Sensory pathways for hearing and vision, language and higher cognitive function).
On the second chart, someone’s representation of the Montessori sensitive periods (please tell me if you know the source) – this is the time when we consider the child to be most interested, sensitive to these specific areas, or by the end of that period, generally having acquired those things, at which point the interest wanes.
Do we observe and trust that the child’s natural interest should be the starting point of deciding at what age a specific material should be introduced ?
Our guest speakers, medical and neurological development experts, at the Montessori Days of Neuchatel today, definitely believe so (and they aren’t even Montessori teachers!)…. the child’s natural interest, tuning them in to the things they need to build the next areas/pathways of their brain, and building ‘highways’ of neurological connections, that will ensure permanent learning of skills…that will not be lost in the ‘pruning’ phase of the 6+ year old brain.

The Montessori Notebook – New resource for 0-3!

Delighted to share that Simone Davies of Jacaranda Tree Montessori in Amsterdam has started a new website for Montessori parenting…

“Helping you to apply Montessori principles in daily life, answer your Montessori questions and, in 2015, follow my Montessori workshops online.”

Her first video has already arrived on the web…

6th January 1907

Letter written by Maria Montessori commemorating the opening of the first Casa dei Bambini:

I started my work like a peasant who had put aside good seeds of wheat, and to whom a fertile piece of land had been offered so he could sow it according to his wish.  But it was not to be.  As soon as I moved the sods of that earth, I found gold, rather than wheat.  The sods were hiding a precious treasure.