By Emily Johnsen
Is early (pre-kindergarten) education really that important?
You bet it is! In fact, experts tell us that 90% of all brain development takes place before age six. According to Dr. Maria Montessori, the world-renowned authority on early childhood education, all children are born with amazingly absorbent, sponge-like minds. During this “absorbent mind” stage, children soak up knowledge easily and naturally. If you have young grandchildren, no doubt you are already aware of their remarkable ability to just “take in” everything around them. However, somewhere around age five or six, children mature into a “reasoning mind” stage and gone are the days of effortless learning. Children starting kindergarten with no reading, writing, or math skills under their belt are already at an unfortunate disadvantage.
What is a Sensitive Period?
During the absorbent mind stage, children experience intense bursts of growth–physically, mentally, and emotionally. Montessori called these bursts “sensitive periods.” A sensitive period is a developmental window of opportunity during which children learn specific concepts more easily and naturally than at any other time in life.
Don’t let your grandchildren miss these windows of opportunity!
By understanding sensitive periods, grandparents can help fulfill the child’s innate need for specific information at specific times. When the child is experiencing a sensitive period, they both want and need to learn. So we must recognize what they are receptive to learning and when. By recognizing these windows of opportunity, grandparents can maximize the child’s natural desire to learn. Learn more about Sensitive Periods.
It is important to understand that sensitive periods will come and go. If there is nothing in the environment to allow the child to develop that skill, or if we unknowingly interrupt the process, the child may lose interest altogether. Once a sensitive period has been missed, the child may struggle to master that particular skill, as well as those that follow.
Would you like to help your grandchild maximize his or her first six years of life? We can help empower you to give your grandchild a gift that lasts a lifetime. Please check out The Royal Road to Reading program, an early childhood reading program for grandparents, parents, and homeschoolers.