Sensitive periods of learning

The sensitive period for order begins at birth, peaks in the second year of development, and continues through to around age five. This period of development teaches kids how to develop their reasoning skills, organize information, and understand their environment. Sensitivity to order can be characterized by a desire for consistency and repetition, where children crave routine and structure. During this period of sensitivity, children may be more interested in putting things in order and packing things away, than they are in playing with their toys. To support the sensitive period for order, it is important to establish ground rules, a solid routine, and create an organized environment where everything has a place.

Sensory skills

Children begin to understand and refine their senses from birth to age five. This period of sensitivity can be characterized by a child’s fascination with sensorial experiences such as touch, taste, sight and smell.
The first phase of sensory awareness, sensitivity to small objects, occurs from one to three years of age. This period can be characterized by a child’s fixation with small objects and tiny details. The completion of this phase indicates that an understanding of order and detail are coming together in the child’s mind.

The second sensitivity phase, sensorial exploration and classification, occurs from 2.5 to 6 years. This phase can be classified by an intense desire to take part in learning experiences that integrate the senses. These experiences provide children with a system to classify objects within their environment.

The sensitive period for movement can be divided into two phases. From birth to 2.5 years, children are sensitive to gross and fine motor development. This begins when the infant child learns to crawl, pull up, and eventually walk without assistance. Over time, children also develop fine motor skills through repeating activities that strengthen their hand muscles and improve hand-eye coordination.

From 2.5 to 4.5 years of age, children enter the sensitive period for refinement and coordination of movement. This is when the child begins to hold items using both hands, develop the pincer grip, and control and coordinate movement.


From birth to age six, children are in the sensitive period for language. Sensitivity to language involves three key phases: spoken language, written language, and reading. The sensitive period for spoken language is from 7 months to 3 years of age. It begins when the child first creates sounds by mimicking mouth movements, and progresses over time, as they learn to form words and simple sentences. The sensitive period for learning to write is from 3.5 to 4.5 years of age. This begins when the child learns their sounds, which form the foundation for reading and writing skills. Reading skills are often developed before a child learns to write.

Our international team uses the principles of Maria Montessori, the awareness of sensitive periods and a strong knowledge of how children learn to offer a variety of languages. The program created by the educational team is tailored to the childrens’ needs and interests; and meets the « Cadre de référence national sur l’éducation non formelle des enfants et des jeunes » Luxembourg is a multicultural nation, Butterfly Valley and Caterpillar Haven are a proud example of its variety. We are proud to share our cultural awareness with your children to help them connect to the world and get inspired by their cultures and customs in return. Since 2017, Butterfly Valley and Caterpillar Haven creche are certified a language center by the Ministère de l’Éducation nationale, de l’Enfance et de la Jeunesse. If your child is between the age of 1 and 4, he/she will enjoy 20 hours a week free of charge at Butterfly Valley and Caterpillar Haven creche!

Social skills

From 2.5 to 6 years, children learn that they are part of a group and develop an intense interest in social relationships. During this time, children learn to direct their actions, attention, and behavior towards a group of people. This is the stage of development where children learn to develop friendships and participate in co-operative play.

The sensitive period for social skills is an appropriate stage to introduce the importance of manners and basic principles of human interaction.