Each child is unique, but shares common developmental interests with all other children. The child under six years is gifted with a mind capable of absorbing, learning without effort, and therefore should be exposed to as many worthwhile areas of their culture as possible during this time. The mind can be likened to a sponge which absorbs any water that it comes across. The child’s most important instruments of learning are hands and senses. The child is a sensorial learner who is grasping the environment around him through his senses. The learning of the child in this phase is effortless and spontaneous. The child is in a constant process of learning and self-construction. They explore the environment around them and gain mastery over it. In an environment where the fundamental laws of child development are taken into account, they reveal an extraordinary talent for spontaneous learning
A 6-12 year old child is quite different from the 3-6 year old child. The powers of reasoning mind and imagination awaken in this plane. They use the intellect gathered in the previous years and with the help of the reasoning mind and imagination, they explore the environment around them. This is also the period of moral development in the child. They begin to understand what is acceptable and not acceptable and reflect it in their lives.
Our approach to education should meet the changing needs of the child. When these needs are met, there is a joyful and effortless learning in the child. Special care should be taken to prepare the environment to meet the developmental needs of the child.
The environment itself will teach the child, if every error he makes is manifest to him, without the intervention of a parent or teacher, who should remain a quiet observer of all that happens.
Dr. Maria Montessori