Being two years old is living with your eyes wide open! One of the delights of life (when you have the time) is taking a walk with the two year old in your life. You will discover many things you would otherwise miss: spider webs with drops of dew, a banana slug hidden beneath a leaf, the flickering shadows of the bay tree’s branches. Actually, two year olds experience life fully through all their senses including hearing the bird’s song, touching the silky smooth fuzz of a leaf, feeling the delight of movement as they jump in a small puddle seemingly made just for them. Of course, walking along a busy street with a very fast two year-old can be a whole different experience for the adult.
Dr. Maria Montessori also lived with her eyes wide open, especially when it came to observing young children. She described the toddler’s ability to experience all around him as “the absorbent mind”, and noted that toddlers learn through all their senses, able to absorb language, culture, movement, and much more, through special developmental phases she called, “sensitive periods”. For instance, most young children become fluent speakers with an ease and quickness that may seem like “an explosion into language”.
What Dr. Montessori observed with her eyes, scientists have now discovered through brain research. The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University in an article, “The Science of Early Childhood Development” has this to say:
“Brain architecture is built over a succession of “sensitive periods,” each of which is associated with the formation of specific circuits that are associated with specific abilities. The development of increasingly complex skills and underlying circuits builds on the circuits and skills that were formed earlier. Through this process, early experiences create a foundation for lifelong learning, behavior, and both physical and mental health.”
In our Young Children’s Community (18 months – three years old) we begin, as our mission states, “inspiring life–long learning and a more peaceful world by nurturing the natural development of the whole child.”