Written by Julia Gorham
Dr. Maria Montessori established that sensorial experiences begin right when a child is born. Children use their senses in order to study their environment. By participating in sensory activities, children can consciously obtain clear information that helps them classify their surroundings. These classifications serve as stepping stones to organized intelligence, which gives children the ability to adapt to their environment.
Montessori sensorial materials are materials used in the Montessori classroom to help a child develop and refine his or her five senses. Use of these materials constitutes the next level of difficulty after those of practical life.
Like many other materials in the Montessori classroom, sensorial materials have what is called “control of error”, meaning that the child not only works with the material, but has a way to check their work rather than seeking out the teacher if they have a question on whether or not they did it right. This is done to help promote independence and problem solving on the part of the child.
Why Sensorial Work is Important?
Sensorial activities are used in Montessori learning to help children in discrimination and order. They also help broaden and refine a child’s senses. When a child combines Montessori designed materials with sensorial work, it helps them become more logical, perceptive, and aware.
Dr. Montessori developed the concept of sensorial work long before sensory play was put into practice. In Montessori philosophy, the child is considered the “sensorial explorer” and learns to perceive qualities through sensorial experiences.
Many Montessori materials, for example the Pink Tower is designed to assist in visual discrimination by allowing a child to recognize differences in dimension, length, width, and size. Montessori activities such as the Brown Stair, Red Rods, Knobbed Cylinders, and Colour Tablets can also enhance the visual sense.
Sensorial Montessori materials in our classrooms