Les périodes sensibles – L’ordre

Sensitive periods – Order

According to Maria Montessori, children naturally gravitate towards activities that are beneficial for their psychic development.

A sensitive period is a time when a child can very quickly and with pleasure learn a particular character. The role of the parent is to identify these phases in order to offer the child an appropriate environment and activities.

This may seem paradoxical, but in fact, the child goes through a period during which order occupies a fundamental place in his psychic development. The outer order allows him to build a serene inner order .

During this period, the child suffers from the disorder. If the environment is not suitable, he will be anxious and his frustration may be interpreted, wrongly, as a whim .

Young children have a characteristic love of order. » Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori develops the following example in her book The Child :

A child instantly starts crying when a woman visits him and puts her parasol on the table. The child groaned looking at the parasol. The woman misinterprets his reaction and hands him the parasol, believing that she wishes to grab it. The child pushes her away. Her mother then realizes that this is the manifestation of a need for order on the part of her daughter. She removes the parasol from the table and moves it into the room adjoining the bedroom. The child calms down immediately. This example perfectly illustrates the need to carefully observe the behavior of the child and to learn about the different sensitive phases that he can go through.

The order allows the child to understand his environment and to orient himself within it . He can then organize and establish relationships between the innumerable images and experiences he accumulates during the day.
Similarly, consistency in the care provided to the child will allow him to build his inner order, that is to
say, to become aware of the different parts of his body and their position.

" It is the order that allows the child to have basic security " Charlotte Poussin, Montessori educator graduated from the International Montessori Association.

To adapt to the needs of the child during this period, it is not necessary to become excessively manic. On the other hand, it is important to provide him with regularity, a routine, so that he can find his bearings and make associations, while leaving room for the spontaneous! For example, putting his toys in the same place will make it easier for him to understand his environment. Thus, the child will feel safe in a generally constant “ambience” and he will be able to build his psychic life with confidence.

Sensitivity to order is temporary and disappears with age to give way to the following. It is nevertheless crucial, because it constitutes one of the bases of the development of the child.

- Montessori: from birth to 3 years , Charlotte Poussin, Eyrolles.
- The child, Maria Montessori , Desclée de Brouwer.

Back to blog

Share your questions and thoughts about this article!