Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Montessori : The Sensitive Period with Thomas The Tank Engine and Friends!

Chubs celebrated his 2nd birthday last month. Boi.. how time flies. It seemed that he was just the cutie wittle baby awhile ago and yet he is all of 2yrs now. Sigh. I wished he'd stay a baby awhile longer for he is the best baby any mom would dream of having. He's handsome, extremely sweet tempered, eats and sleeps very very well, an exuberant little fellow who absorbs everything from his environment super fast and most importantly, he is one helluva loving wittle man.

Children fancy different things in different phases of their lives. As parents, we have a fair share in the exposure of these 'things' that we either intentionally expose our children to or something that the children took interest to from multimedia or from having seen or had contact with. Yes, I am referring to kiddie craze. During my time, the only logical craze was for Mickey Mouse & Friends, as that was the only ones we had on TV and in black and white too. I was a little fan of Donald.. don't ask me why cos I have forgotten the reason to that interest in the blabbering duck. Later on when tv had some colour, I followed Sesame Street religiously and because they were so good, I honestly couldn't pick any favourites so till today if anyone were to ask.. my answer remains that I just like Sesame Street. Period. In a time where enrichment classes or phonics lessons were totally unheard of, Sesame Street seemed to have taught me everything I knew from the alphabet, the sounds of the alphabet, numbers and counting, rhymes, music.. songs.. and dance.. and almost everything about the outside world that this village girl never even dreamt she could see or experience in real life.

Chubs was exposed to many different things and to a variety of kiddie characters in different phases of his 2 years of life to date. He took a fancy on Mother Goose and later on Elmo for awhile, followed by Barney, Hi5 and now his entire worship seems to be on Thomas The Tank Engine and Friends. When the local tv station's kiddie channel (OKto) first aired those mini Thomas episodes that last half an hour daily, I tried to get him excited but upon seeing the big round eyes of Thomas himself, chubs kinda freaked out and each time the show came on, he'd literally run away from the tv in fright. I would leave the volume on so he could still hear the theme song and all the chatter that Thomas would have with his friends (the other engines) and all the different toots and peeps each engine made. At about 20mths old, chubs could half sing and half hum the theme song that started the mini episodes pretty well. He started mouthing the ending words of every line of the song.

Thomas The Tank Engine's Theme Song

Lyrics :-

They're two they're four they're six they're eight
Shunting trucks and hauling freight
red and green and brown and blue
they're the really useful crew


All with different roles to play
Round Tidmouth sheds or far away,
Down the hills and round the bends
Thomas and friends

Thomas he's the cheeky one
James is vain but lots of fun
Percy pulls the mail on time
Gordon thunders down the line
Emily really knows her stuff
Henry toots and huffs and puffs
Edward wants to help and share
Toby, well let's say, he's square

They're two they're four they're six they're eight
Shunting trucks and hauling freight
red and green and brown and blue
they're the really useful crew
All with different roles to play
Round tidmouths or far away
Down the hills and round the bends
Thomas and friends

They're two they're four they're six they're eight
Shunting trucks and hauling freight
red and green and brown and blue
they're the really useful crew
All with different roles to play
Round tidmouths or far away
Down the hills and round the bends
Thomas and friends

As time passed, his liking for Thomas became a passion and today, an OBSESSION. Seeing how besotted he was with wide-eyed Thomas whom he was no longer terrified of (LOL!), I began to slowly amass a collection of Thomas the Tank Engine's merchandise for him.. DVDs.. books.. die-cast talking trains.. his 1st track/railway set (DieselWorks).. pencil case.. activity books and MORE!

His obsession for Thomas led to many interesting discoveries from my keen observations during our daily interactions. Thomas is now my idol too. Here's why...

In Montessori theory, upon discovery of the Absorbent Mind... Maria Montessori observed a phase of special sensibility and sensitivity in a child's early developmental stages where he/she is attracted and responds to certain things much more than at another. The child then begins a fixated interest to this certain thing at this very phase. No reason of logic nor or any hereditary inclination that the child inherited from his/her parents. It is a phase that the child is drawn into a certain trait that can be observed within these few major *areas.

1.Language.
2.Order
3.Tiny objects.
4.Refinement of senses.
5.Grace & courtesy.
6.Culture 
7.Movement

*May or may not appear in the same order listed. The following link below, concisely describes each area.

SENSITIVE PERIODS < by Wikipedia.

LANGUAGE
This burst of language is real and one of the biggest achievements for a child and one of the proudest moments for parents. The sounds the child has been hearing since he/she was only a foetus in the mother's womb takes a quantum leap at this sensitive stage. For chubs, with the ABC book I purchased for him from a push-cart sale in the West.. he became pretty intrigued by how close he was getting to Thomas and the other characters except for those occasions he got to see them on tv and he insisted we read to him over and over again. The book contained beautiful illustrations with words that started every alphabet. He was extremely silent whilst being read to up till the 5th time for lo and behold, he suddenly just pointed to the letter 'm' and gestured me to look. He said in a clear voice of the wee hours of night.. "Emm.. mountain." "Enn.. newspaper.." "Oh.. ostrich..." "Be careful ostrich, Thomas coming." (On the page there was Thomas on the railway track on one side and an ostrich seemingly running alongside the supposedly moving train.)

Hubs and I was left in our jaw dropping wonder for that few seconds. 

The night stretched a little longer than usual for chubs was too excited to feel sleepy and he kept on pointing to letters, naming them, tracing them and said the words aloud the next few times I read the same book to him.

The next day, chubs' agenda on his to-do list was to read that same ABC book. To observe further this sensitivity to Language, I showed him Thomas 123 book and a short story book entitled, Thomas comes to breakfast... chubs... he devoured them all. Absorbing every single word read and scanning excitedly page after page. By the weekend, he had memorized the content for all 3 books.

Conclusion : The sensitive period to language came to chubs much earlier than expected. His first word was a clear... "cat" shout-out when he pointed to one near where we reside and he was only 10mths then. Everyone in the family was jubilant at the speed he was absorbing all these and each one of us happily took turns to read to him every chance we get.

Today, his favourites range from Eric Carle's evergreen stories, kiddie fantasies like Goldilocks and the likes, Julia Donaldson's collection, etc.

As this is sure to be a long post, I am breaking it up into smaller chunks and I promise to share all the fab finds (Thomas merchandise) we got for chubs to date.

Before I end this wee morning's post... here's a look at one of the loot he unwrapped from his birthday last month. 

This was a prezzie from me. Entitled the Busy Book. Comes with 12 plastic figurines/engines with board book rhyming pages plus a nice big and beautiful playmat. All in a carry-along boxed-book-set. As it's collection says... Thomas & Friends : My Busy Book.





FOLLOW THIS SENSITIVE PERIOD TRAIL OF THOUGHTS FOR MORE OF MONTESSORI EDUCATION & OF COURSE, OF THOMAS & HIS FRIENDS... 








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