Montessori suggested a teaching method that is based on sensorial materials. This method emphasizes the development and improvement of sensation and perception of students aged three to six years. Sensorial processes developed by this method are the first step to rational training. As such, the primary goal of sensorial education is to provide ground for intellectual development. There are sensorial materials in the Montessori classroom to ensure the sensorial education of children.
A typical sensorial lesson allows students to learn by the use of their hands and minds. A child becomes aware of each detail of what they are doing by recognizing strong sensations. For example, color tables are the most used sensorial material in the class. Here, children can be acquainted with different shades of a specific color, or they may be given contrasting sensations, such as bright and dark. Sensorial materials should be constructed in a way that allows the repetition of actions. This is because depletion is critical in achieving the maximum of children’s development of their senses. By these materials, students improve both motor and sensorial skills, raising their awareness regarding physical and emotional well-being. Indeed, Montessori education believes that developing the primary senses of children enables them to be more experienced with the variances in the environment. Additionally, after the sensational training, children become better adapted to the external environment.
Along with the basic five senses of sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell, Montessori methods rely on the broader aspects of sensations. These aspects include visual, which is children’s ability to identify objects by color, shape, and size; tactile or the sense of touch; baric which is the ability to differentiate objects based on wights or pressure (Catherine & Francisco, 2020). There are also thermic, the ability to sense different temperatures, auditory or sense of sound, olfactory or sense of smell, gustatory, which is the ability to taste, and stereognosis, which is a muscular sense (Catherine & Francisco, 2020). By developing these senses in the course, children learn to respond to various changes in their surroundings via sensorial indicators.
The basic principle of the Montessori method is to encourage children to self-learning. Teachers should not teach but direct the children, providing freedom of action in their discovery of senses. Children should feel support and freedom from teachers to rely entirely on their minds and feelings. Here, freedom is not allowing what a child wants but increasing a natural ability of a child to choose what is the best option for them and their peers. Due to this, sensorial education was found to develop a child’s absorbent mind as children evaluate their perceptions of different sensorial materials and assess their feelings (Catherine & Francisco, 2020). Moreover, children during the class may want to do specific activities or use a particular sensorial material with regard to their feelings and needs. As such, teachers should not hinder the urge of children.
Overall, the Montessori method is based on the development of children’s senses by sensorial materials. It helps students to improve their sensorial skills so that they can manage intellectual training in the future. Children in the classroom are given full independence in their actions while teachers serve as instructors and supporters of the sensorial processes. The materials used in the class are made to ensure repetitions of activities to develop children’s ability to determine their senses and emotions.
Catherine, L. E., Javier, B., & Francisco, G. (2020). Four pillars of the Montessori method and their support by current neuroscience. Mind, Brain, and Education, 14(4), 322-334.