Sensitive Periods During The Caterpillar Of The Prosthesis Butterfly Essay

2080 Words Dec 9th, 2016 9 Pages
‘Sensitive periods’ is a term developed by the Dutch geneticist Hugo de Vries and later used by the Italian educator Maria Montessori.
Montessori cites DeVries’ example of a Sensitive Period in the caterpillar of the Prosthesis butterfly. The caterpillar must feed on very tender leaves, and yet the butterfly lays its eggs in the most hidden fork of the branch, near the trunk of the tree. Who will show the little caterpillars hidden there, the moment they leave the egg, that the tender leaves they need are to be found at the extreme tip of the branch, in the light? Now the caterpillar is strongly sensible to light; light attracts it, summons it as by an irresistible voice, fascinates it, and the caterpillar goes wriggling towards where the light is brightest, till it reaches the tip of the branch, and thus finds itself, famished for food, among the budding leaves that can give it nourishment. It is a strange fact that when the caterpillar has passed through its first stage and is full grown, it can eat other food, and then loses its sensibility to light. This has been proved in scientific laboratories where there are neither trees nor leaves but only the caterpillar and the light.
According to Montessori sensitive periods, refers to several overlapping periods of development where a child is sensitive to a particular stimuli or type of interaction. A child passes through special times in his life when he easily incorporates a particular…

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