The first six years is a very important period of a child’s life. It is filled with enormous physical, emotional and psychological growth and development.
Dr Maria Montessori believed that humans are capable of learning more at this stage than at any other in the next years. This was the period Montessori described as THE child’s ABSORBENT MIND, when young children are capable of absorbing lots of information about the environment that surrounds them through all their senses.
In this time, children acquire language skills, develop motor and cognitive skills and begin to copy or learn the social skills from the adults in their everyday environment.
Dr Montessori knew from the observation that the process of learning in young children is completely different than in adults. She developed ideas about three different places the human mind can process and store information:
- conscious mind, where the person is thinking and acting in a deliberate manner,
- subconscious mind, using, without thinking too much, the life experiences, also sensory ones as a response,
- unconscious mind, the person is not aware of gathering information, mostly a response to sensory information.
After observing young children, Montessori discovered that most of the children’s learning in the age from birth to 3 years old happens in the unconscious and subconscious mind. At this stage, children absorb unconsciously what is around them.
Montessori thought that it was important for the child under 3 to have a wide range of sensory and motor stimulants because these experiences would be stored in the subconscious and be the best preparation for later learning.
Because Dr Montessori believed that birth-6 was the most important stage for the development of the conscious mind, Montessori early childhood programs pay attention to providing an environment that allows children to concentrate and to experience certain kinds of consistent positive behaviors.
Modern researchers who study children’s growth and development came to very similar conclusions as Dr Montessori so the Montessori Method is being proven to help the child achieve success through positive and variable experiences. Some studies shown even that ‘children who had attended Montessori school from childhood outperformed their high school classmates several years later in mathematics and science.’