The Sensitive Periods of Ages 3-6
In the first year a perceptual map of spoken sounds is established in the brain.
Children speak in complete sentences by three and vocabulary expands to the degree that children hear words spoken in the environment.
Children perfect proper word order (syntax) and use of tenses just by hearing the language spoken around them and to them.
Children are interested in learning to write at about age four.
Most children spontaneously show an interest in learning to read around age four or five.
A deep interest in grammar and word origins begins at age six or seven.
Children can learn perfect pronunciation of foreign languages when early exposure takes place.
Sense Of Order – From Eighteen Months To Four Years
3 to 6 year-olds are exquisitely sensitive to order in their environment and often cry out in frustration if things are not the way they are “supposed to be.”
Children desire to keep order, especially if we demonstrate a simple pattern of using materials and putting them away when we are finished.
Coordination Of Movement
Once basic movements are established, 3-6 six-year-olds love activity such as the balance beam, carrying objects and movement games that challenge them to further coordinate their movement.
There is a powerful impetus for fine motor skills such as holding a pencil.
Children learn best when they use their hands.
The hands function as a powerful pathway to the brain.
Montessori recommends that we “never give more to the eye and the ear than we give to the hand.”
Interest In Small Objects
Children like to handle small objects. When past the stage of putting everything in their mouths and it becomes safe, small objects are useful for strengthening eye-hand coordination.
Basic Concepts In Mathematics And Music
The latest scientific research indicates that the period from birth to four is most important for developing foundational concepts of number and pattern.
Children who are exposed to as little of one year of concrete math materials in preschool are found to be ahead of their peers all the way through high school.
Music uses nearly the same neural structure as mathematics and has sensitive periods for development of basic music from three to ten.
Children exposed to music before age seven are virtually the only individuals, (including career musicians) who develop perfect pitch.
Early keyboard and singing experience dramatically increases a child’s spatial intelligence.
Summary courtesy Pathway for Families