Sensorial learning is one of the elements of Montessori learning for early-years children, the others being exercises of practical life, language, math and culture.
As the name suggests, sensorial learning in the kindergarten classroom focuses on lessons and activities that use the five senses of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling to classify and understand the world around us. Children learn to organize sensory impressions from their surroundings and comprehend colours, shapes, dimensions, sounds, smells and tastes along with the proper contextual vocabulary.
Sensorial material work helps to lay the foundation for math, language and geometry as children note similarities and differences, and learn how to classify and sort. Some of the popularly known Montessori sensorial materials are pink tower, brown staircase, knobbed cylinder blocks, colour box and geometric solids.
Manner of sensorial material presentation in the kindergarten classroom :
Sensorial materials must be presented to children in a controlled environment with controlled levels of error. This is to allow the child to explore and observe certain comparisons and identify similarities or differences through sensory impressions from the immediate environment.
Types of sensorial work for the kindergarten classroom:
- Visual – Visual material work helps children notice differences and similarities between objects they see and categorize things according to visually observed attributes.
- Auditory – Auditory material stimuli allow children to discriminate between different sounds and heighten their ability to notice variations in sound.
- Olfactory – Olfactory material work lets a child explore and differentiate among various kinds of smells or scents.
- Gustatory – Gustatory material work helps a child understand differences in taste such as sweet, sour, salty or sweet; creamy or nutty, etc.
- Tactile – Through tactile material work, children learn to use their fingertips, mostly of the dominant hand, to enhance their sense of feeling of any object.
Additionally, Montessori sensorial material work also includes:
- Baric work where the sensations of pressure and weight are explored by an early-years child.
- Thermic work through which children experience and distinguish between warm, hot, cold and room temperature.
- Stereognostic work relies heavily on muscle memory using touch sense alone to develop the child’s ability to recognize an object minus sight, sound, taste or smell.
Benefits of sensorial learning in kindergarten:
- Forging nerve connections in the brain pathway through activities that stimulate the senses. These connections significantly enhance a child’s ability to process more complex and intricate tasks later on.
- Better retention by experiential learning. Using only an auditory approach could result in the brain forgetting easily. Combining other sensorial inputs enhances memory capacity in absorbing the lesson.
- Communication and social skills development as children build vocabulary to aptly express sensory impressions.
- Critical thinking and problem-solving ability development. Sensorial learning activities bring a sense of wonder as children comprehend new experiences. Various sensory inputs act as stimuli that children will learn to process and respond to appropriately.
- Motor skills development as children handle and explore various sensorial learning materials.
- Enhances mindfulness and has a calming influence on children. Sensorial activities can control a child’s agitation and restlessness, easing discomfort and calming their anxiety.
- Blog By
Sumita Sen Mazumdar
Principal – Erode KG Campus
The Indian Public School – Erode.
March, 11 2022 | In Blog