Monthly Archives: June 2016

Sensitive Periods

Dr. Maria Montessori observed that young children go through a number of different intensely-focused periods of learning and concentration. These periods are what we now call the “sensitive periods.” Brain research from Stanford University Neurobiologist Eric Knudsen echoes Dr. Montessori’s findings, stating “When the effect of experience on the brain is particularly strong during a limited period in development, this period is referred to as a sensitive period. Such periods allow experience to instruct neural circuits to process or represent information in a way that is adaptive for the individual” (Knudsen, 1412). The brain actually uses the information learned during a sensitive period to hard wire brain circuitry. These strong connections between the experience a child has and new brain function help build a positive “stability landscape”, leading to more efficient information processing capabilities. These brain connections must be used repeatedly to form and grow properly, leading to the repetition and concentration we see in the child experiencing a sensitive period.  (more…)