Sensorial Education

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“The training of the senses must begin in the formative period of life if we wish to perfect them through education and make use of them in any particular human skill.” (Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child, Pg. 147) Discuss the difference between sensorial impression and sensorial education. Give examples to show your understanding and explain why sensorial education is considered important in the Montessori classroom?

Maria Montessori believed in a necessary relationship between children and their environment. Children must find a properly prepared environment if they are to fully develop their unique human potentials. Sensorial material and the education provided by it serve as the base for this intellectual development.

All children go through a period of time in which they centralize all their attention on one aspect of their environment and exclude everything else. It is a time of intense concentration and mental activity on developing a particular skill at that particular time, age or phase in growth. It is driven unconsciously by an inner force which we can see when a child repeatedly does one activity with such conviction that it seems as if nothing can deter him until he accomplishes that task. “…Instances of a concentration reaching insensibility to the outer world were not usual, I noticed a peculiar behaviour that was common to all, and practically the rule in all they did- the special characteristic of child work, which I later called ‘repetition of the exercise’.” [1. Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood, Pg. 125]

There is predetermined psychic pattern that molds the unique emotional and intellectual qualities of each child. These qualities develop through what Dr. Montessori referred to as "the sensitive periods”. There are six such periods: sensitivity to order; sensitivity to small objects; learning through the five senses; sensitivity for walking; sensitivity for language; sensitivity for social interest. This young child...
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