Montessori Baby

The author, trained as a Montessori primary teacher (AMI), documents and analyzes her efforts to raise a "Montessori" baby.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Sensitive Period for Sensory Perception

Months 0-6

It started a few weeks ago. First, there was the scratching of little fingers on every surface. Then, there was a keen interest in watching the dog move around the house or a ceiling fan twirl in its orbit. Next, it was locating voices, putting everything in the mouth, and freezing to listen to changes in music. These were the signs that made it clear to me that Alex was coming alive to the world of sensory information.

The attention to sensory development in the Montessori classroom has perhaps the most beautiful reason behind it. True, the development of sensory perception contributes to later reading and it becomes the foundation of later abstractions, but its main purpose is to give the child the "keys to the world" so that he can enjoy and appreciate all the rich sensorial experiences available to him.

Having noted Alex's interest in new sights, smells, sounds, textures, and materials, we have already begun this exploration together. My husband and I put on different types of music for him more often now and we give him things to play with that have different visual properties, apparent or real temperatures, colors, and textures. When Alex and I go out into the garden or on a walk, I break off bits of different herbs for him to smell or put him near to flowers and plants so that he can touch and examine them. We take him to new places often and read books with vibrant colors, interesting photographs, or varying meter.

Alex has not yet seemed prepared for an exploration of tastes, though I appreciated it when someone I know defined early eating experiences in just this way. "It's not about feeding, it's about tasting," she said. To think of it this way has helped me not to rush, but to offer foods and let Alex take the lead in tasting and "asking" for more.

One of the greatest things about Alex's awakening senses is that mine have come alive again, too. Seeing the world through him has made me notice what I normally would ignore or miss. His appreciation for all that is around him is yet another gift to me as a parent, and one for which I am truly grateful.


At 3:04 AM, Blogger casso said...

Hi there!

I'm a contributor to the UP forum and thought I'd have alook at your blog. Alex is absolutely cute as anything! Will love to pop in and read about his and your adventures in life. You can also read about my DD at:

Will look forward to keeping in touch via cyberspace.

Cheers, Cass


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