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Mobile Triggers

"Our aim is not only to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core."

Maria Montessori


Sensorial

The Sensorial shelves, unlike Practical Life, house materials which the child has never seen before and which are designed to entice and excite the child’s desire for sensorial input. The child has experienced long and short, heavy and light, rough and smooth, however he has never realised those experiences in concrete form, with the correct vocabulary. These materials provide the child with the information and experience needed to organise and categorise the knowledge that he has. As the child manipulates these materials his powers of observation are sharpened, his periods of concentration are increased, and his creative mind is given the tools, and vocabulary, to run free. The lessons in this area always follow the sequence of matching, grading, language, and games. The Sensorial apparatus provides the child with a key to his explorations of the world and make him aware of the greater detail of the objects which surround him. As the child manipulates these materials he will gain:

  • Classification and organization of the mind
  • Refinement of the senses
  • Ability to form abstractions
  • Strengthened powers of observation, perception, and assessment
  • A richer vocabulary in both English and Chinese
  • Reinforcement of the natural sequence of numbers 1 to 10, in preparation for Mathematics



”The senses, being the explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge

Maria Montessori

The Sensorial Materials:

Materialised Abstractions

Abstract concepts (eg. colour, weight, length, texture) are materialised into concrete materials so that the child can experience a particular idea directly. The abstraction is a key to universe. These materials were designed to spark an interest within the child and to stimulate his thirst to learn. The information in the material is intentionally limited in scope; it is meant to wet his appetite to know more.

Isolate one quality

Each exercise isolates one idea, concept, or difficulty. Meanwhile, the qualities that the child should not be focused on are maintained consistently to prevent distraction. For example, in the Tasting Bottles, all of the liquids are colourless and odourless; every aspect that we do want the child to pay attention to is uniform but what we do want him to focus on (difference in taste) is different. When we observe the child manipulating the material as intended, then it is evident that the child perceive the abstraction because he is manipulating the embedded idea.

Scientifically created and mathematically graded

The qualities of the materials are related so that there is a measurable, scientific difference between them. Objects of every single group represent the same quality in different degrees. For example, the cubes of the Pink Tower increase by 1 cm³.

Self-Correcting

The material has a natural conclusion and a clear outcome. By design, the 0-6 child naturally seeks out order; for him, an error is like a disruption in the mind. This allows the child to check his own work, to analyse, and solve any problems that arise. Without looking for external approval or confirmation, the child is able to work independently of the adult - building self-esteem and self-discipline. The child can begin to trust his own opinion; he develops his own way of thinking and feels confident with his own judgment and perception of his surroundings. With this strength in morality, the child follows the way of his own.

Early preparation for Maths and Language work:

The Sensory materials help to draw the child’s eye to see gross differences, followed by unit differences; the relationship between qualities precedes the even finer relationship of quantification. The 0-6 child’s sensitivity to order corresponds to the natural sequence of the numbers, one to ten. This is used repeatedly in the Sensorial exercises to reinforce the natural idea of a ten-based system. The materials convey the unit increment, allowing the child to experience consistency and to see the differences and gradation; this is the preparation for studying sequence and progression of quantities in Mathematics. Geometry is explored at length, including the names of shapes and three-dimensional solids. Further lessons involve equivalences, sliding figures, flipping figures, and finding area. Also, after the work of matching and grading, each Sensory exercise extends into a language lesson in both English and Chinese. The child’s understanding of each word is deepened because he is allowed to experience the idea through the sense first. The child’s vocabulary expands with qualitative adjectives (eg. thick, thin), followed by comparative language (eg. thicker, thinner), and superlative language (eg. thickest, thinnest). With intention, the teacher will give different children different lessons, and let them share the information with one another as they work together; this social exchange greatly enhances the children’s learning experience.

Sections of Sensorial Lessons:

Visual

These exercises focus on the eyes and refine the child’s ability to spot fine differences between size, colour, shape. This area extends into the child’s work with Geometry.

Auditory

These exercises focus on the ears and refine the child’s ability to spot fine differences between sound. This area extends into the child’s work with Music materials.

Olfactory

These exercises focus on the nose and refine the child’s ability to spot fine differences between smells.

Gustatory

These exercises focus on the tongue and nose and refine the child’s ability to spot fine differences between taste.

Tactile

These exercises focus on the child’s skin and refine the child’s ability to spot fine differences between textures.

In addition, there are the senses without dedicated organs:

Stereognostic

These exercises focus on a combination of the five senses to determine what something is without sight. It can be defined as, “knowledge from all around” or what is known as the “Blind Man’s Sense.” This sense involves seeing with the mind and requires the child to pause, to consider, to draw from memory, and to begin distilling from concepts in order to create a mental picture inside the mind.

Thermic

Each exercise isolates one idea, concept, or difficulty. Meanwhile, the qualities that the child should not be focused on are maintained consistently to prevent distraction. For example, in the Tasting Bottles, all of the liquids are colourless and odourless; every aspect that we do want the child to pay attention to is uniform but what we do want him to focus on (difference in taste) is different. When we observe the child manipulating the material as intended, then it is evident that the child perceive the abstraction because he is manipulating the embedded idea.

Baric

These exercises focus on the awareness of weight and refine the child’s pressure points, located under the skin.

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Sensorial Learning helps children to grasp ideas wholly!