“Nothing comes to the intellect which was
not the first in the senses.”
Maria Montessori saw the senses as the "doorway to the mind." She considered sensory and manipulation not only an aid to the development of maturing sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin) but a starting point for the intellectual growth. The basic sensorial exercise inspires careful observation - the mind must judge, compare, classify and draw conclusions. These exercises tend to fascinate children because they are difficult enough to represent a real and meaningful challenge. They are then better prepared for future learning in math, language, and science and making sense of life's experiences and information in general.
Sensorial exercises and materials teach children about color, shape, sound, taste, smell, dimension, texture, weight, volume, temperature and form. These materials are the basic building blocks for all the rest of the Montessori curriculum.
Examples of Sensorial Activities:
- Colored rods - teaching size and length discrimination
- Rough and smooth boards - to illustrate texture
- Color boxes - to learn basic colors and color gradation
- Knobbed and knobless cylinders - teaching discrimination of sizes
- Geometric solids – teaching names of several shapes
Other materials include: pink tower, geometric cabinet, binomial cube, baric tablets, smell bottles, broad stair, color tablets, constructive triangles, trinomial cube, fabric matching, thermos bottles and sound cylinders.