“With the gradual emergence of knowledge and volition, it becomes imperative to establish some order and clarity within the mind and to distinguish what is essential from what is accidental… To satisfy this need, he should have an exact, scientific guide such as that which is to be found in our apparatus and exercises.” Dr. Montessori – The discovery of the child, chap.6 Dr. Montessori describes sensorial materials as the key to the universe. Discuss the statement and give examples to support your discussions.
Senses are points of contact through which the stimuli enter and make an impression. Impressions here not only mean knowledge. Knowledge is when we can categorise or recognise, what is what. The senses have tremendous potential and are a very important part in the growing up stage, if these senses are trained well. We are gifted with five senses, vision, taste, touch, smell and hear and they have their own importance in us. Every sense is connected to our body part, eye is for vision and tongue is to taste. We are born with these senses. Dr. Montessori, with her research and studies helped to develop these senses. In her every research and studies, she said the development of senses is very important. The development of senses, ahead leads to child growth and development, which in relation helps the child to be oneself. Like, she emphasised on the development of visual sense. It is very important and if we train more on visual sense, it will help it the development of intellectual mind. The purpose and aim of sensorial work is for the child to acquire clear, conscious, information and to be able to then make clarifications in his environment. As per Dr. Montessori, the sensorial training begins the moment the child is born. Through his senses, the child tries to study his environment. The child, to Dr. Montessori, is a “sensorial explorer.” She considered sensory and manipulation not only lead to the development of maturing sense organs, like eyes, nose, tongue, ears and skin, it is also a starting point for their intellectual growth. By helping the child, to order, compare and classify sensory stimulation, their intellectual development would be greatly assisted and future learning would be more meaningful and useful. The basic sensorial exercise inspires careful observation and calls attention to specific qualities requiring identification of similarities and contrast. The mind must judge, compare, classify and draw conclusions. Like, a child should know how to make decision. This makes the child confident, in terms of keeping his point of view, on his likes and dislikes. The exercises designed tend to fascinate children because they are difficult enough to represent a real and meaningful challenge. Along with self-development, it helps the child to prepare for their future learning, education and making sense of life’s experiences and information in genera. “The senses, being explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge. Our apparatus for educating the senses offers the child a key to guide his explorations of the world, they cast a light upon it which makes visible to him more things in greater details than he could see in the dark, or uneducated state.” The Absorbent Mind, p 167, chap 17 Dr.Montessori was very influenced by the work of Dr.Edouard Seguin. Dr. Seguin is considered the first great teacher in the field of disabilities. He improved on Itard’s method of sensory training. He specialised in working with mentally deficient children and had developed a series of exercises that helped to train the children’s senses and to teach them the skills of everyday life. While he worked as a director at the school for “idiots” in the Salpetriere asylum, Dr. Seguin saw the potential benefits of a physiological method in treating mental retardation. He believed that mental deficiency was caused by a weakness of the nervous system, and could be cured trough of motor and sensory training....
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