Early Childhood-Sensitive Period for Language

As Montessori teachers, we see daily evidence of the importance of language in early childhood development. We also observe how easily and avidly young children acquire language and build vocabulary. This inclination for language occurs because children are experiencing the sensitive period for language development from birth until about age six.

While a young child is learning his native or primary language, he also has a great aptitude for learning to speak and understand a second or even third language at the same time. This may surprise many adults who consider learning a second language to be difficult. However, as Dr. Montessori said, the reason adults have difficulty learning a second language is because they are no longer in that sensitive period for language acquisition. What is difficult for adults can be quite simple for young children, who quickly acquire fluency and can develop nearly native pronunciation and intonation.

Enjoy the children singing a little song in Portuguese!