Have you ever tried to teach a newborn baby to walk or teach a kindergartener how to do calculus? Me neither. This is because their brains and their bodies are not ready to learn such skills at that age. In the Montessori Method of teaching, it is recognized that children have what they call “sensitive periods”. A child is ready to learn a particular skill in these periods. These sensitive periods take place when the child is ready and only last as long as it takes the child to learn that particular skill. The order in which sensitive periods occur (i.e. a sensitive period for writing) and the timing for the periods varies from child to child. When we observe our children (our own or our pupils), we can identify these sensitive periods and provide the necessary tools and space to learn them. For example, my niece has recently learned how to crawl and is trying to explore her surroundings by pulling up on things and “cruise”. She discovered that she can make her way up stairs, but her challenge was going down them. Her mother, ever so watchful, let her explore going down the stairs. With a pillow at the bottom for those inevitable crash landings, she slowly learned how to manage stairs—or two steps in this case. For other children, they may learn to walk before going down stairs. Children can take on challenges and flourish, but only in their own time and if given the space and tools necessary to accomplish those challenges.