Isn’t this a beautiful Montessori environment? The bells gleaming on the top shelf are just calling out to be heard. The feely bags on the shelf below invite you to find out what is inside, just by the sense of touch. Fabric samples sit on the shelf below, waiting to be matched, perhaps with your eyes closed. The little bottles on the bottom shelf are perhaps smelling bottles, or for taste testing. This is part of the sensorial, or sensory play, part of the classroom.
Dr. Montessori recognized that children learn by exploration, using their senses, and that the more senses involved, the more the learning will stick. Multi-sensory materials are part of other areas of learning, too. A child sees and feels the sandpaper letters, and hears the sound. “This letter makes the sound ‘s’, like in snake,” the child might say, as she traces the sandpaper letter ‘s’. In math, a child can see and feel the difference between a hundred and a thousand, using the concrete golden bead materials.
The sensorial materials invite a child to explore and learn about shape, size, texture, weight, color, smell, taste, sound . . . The materials help a child to begin to categorize and make sense of the vast array of sensory impressions he or she receives constantly from the world around.
Working with a teacher or a friend, the child naturally builds a rich vocabulary with the sensorial materials.
“What is this?”
“This is . . . a triangle . . . rough . . . loud . . . smooth . . . heavy . . . purple . . .small . . . wide . . . sweet!
The Sensorial Materials, Take Two! April 5, 2012