Sensor Introduction To Sensorial-Motor Album
Shu-Chen Yen's On-Line Montessori Albums



A child is an active learner who is attractive by the thing in this world. He learns everything without knowing he is learning it, and is doing so he passed little by little from the unconscious to the conscious. Maria Montessori mentioned that the first of the child's organs to begin functioning are his senses. The period of life between the ages of three and seven years covers a period of rapid physical development. It is the time for the formation of the sense activities as related to the intellect. The child in this age develops his senses. His attention is further attracted to the environment under the form of passive curiosity.The development of the senses indeed precedes that of superior intellectual activity and the child between three and seven years is in the period of formation [1].

What are The five basic senses?

  1. Visual: most of adults primarily are visual learners. They need to see things demonstrated. Montessori categorized even further. She broke the visual sense down into separate sections. They are dimension (size of the object), color/chromatic (awareness of color), and form (awareness of shapes).

  2. Auditory: as adults we are bombarded by sound. We tune out many sounds to function. Therefore, there are some sounds that we do not even hear. For example, body sound, slosh, pop, and limited frequencies. The young child is a set of gigantic ears. He hears everything. He is not organized enough to tune our sounds, therefore, we need to use limited language with him. We need to cut out excessive verbiage. Children in early age are very sensitive to tones, therefore, it is a good time for them to learn music.

  3. Tactile: children learn from touching the objective. Children's skin is so sensitive that the blind can even feel subtle air currents. According to Dr. Montessori, tactile was broken into four areas: surface touch, stereognostic (whole form, volume), thermic (temperatures), and baric (differences in weights).

  4. Olfactory (smell): odor can make good taste better or worse. It is also important that for children to make a connection between eating and smelling.

  5. Gustatory (taste): a young child has taste buds in his entire mouth. In his cheeks and under tongue also. At age 21, we have only 1/4 taste buds left. At age 60, we have very few left. Location of taste buds: tip of tongue (sweet taste), side of tongue (sour and salty taste), and back of tongue (bitter taste).

Montessori thought "The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first period from birth to age six. For that is the time when man's intelligence itself, his greatest implement, is being formed."[3]. She also asserted that "The education of early childhood should be based entirely upon this principle: assist the natural development of the child." [4]. According to her thought, the natural mental development included several "sensitive periods". It is this sensibility which enables a child to come into contact with the external world in a particularly intense manner. At such a time everything is easy; all is life and enthusiasm. Every effort marks an increase in power [5].

There are nine sensitive periods in early childhood:

Why sensorial training IS important?

  1. Aid in the natural development of the child and gives the child a sense of self identity and security within the learning environment. Every child has at least one sense they can rely on, even the handicapped children.
  2. Provides a basis for learning in an orderly manner that is needed for neurological and psychological development.
  3. The sensitive periods are transitory. Sense impressions are of long duration. The sensitive periods can be past, but once sensibility has been acquired it will be long lasting.
  4. Frequency of activity heighten the senses.
  5. Through the isolation of the senses, a refinement of senses can be developed.
  6. It is based on a logical learning sequence. It goes form the concrete to the abstract.
  7. Indirect preparation for intellectual life. It refines the senses and develops cognitive skills such as thinking , judging, associating and comparing.
  8. Develop powers of observation such as attention and concentration.
  9. Promotes auto-education or self learning.
  10. Provides for aesthetic enjoyment.
  11. Offer the child the key to the nature of things.

Sensorial education is the base for intellectual education. Thus, Montessori stated "it is necessary to begin the education of senses in formative period, if we wish to perfect this sense development with the education which is to follow. The education of the senses would be begun methodically in infancy, and should continue during the entire period of instruction which is to prepare the individual for life in society." [6] There are three fold aims for development of the senses:

In order to harmony among these three aims, the sensorial materials were designed in a systematically working in successive steps enable the child to sort out and digest the large number of impressions he possesses, to assimilate additional ones through experience, and to stimulate and refine the child's powers of observation preliminary to acquiring judgment and understanding. In general, the purposes of sensorial material are:

The sensorial materials further expand the child's preparation by building on the order established in through the daily living exercises. For example, the solid cylinders, the sound cylinders, the matching games and so on. The child's muscular control is being further refined in preparation for writing movements and holding a pencil. At the three period of lesson and named activity will help child's language development. Therefore, sensorial materials are not only for the purposes of sense areas, but also for child's mathematics mind, language development and writing.

The indirect purposes of sensorial materials are:

Montessori's sensorial activities introduce the child to a structured comprehension of the world in a different way. The child is not led by the activities away form the baby's world of lively thing-friends, but is only given the skills to clarify and order the sensorial gifts that may be received from them. The activities enlargement of sensorial sensitivity increase the child's' respect and awareness for the things which are the source of those sense impressions. Rather than leave the child felling that a thing is easily defined and manipulated, the sensorial activities make the child aware of the endless avenues available for exploring the thing in its infinite depth and fullness [8].


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