Thursday, March 3, 2011

Montessori Principles (Sensorial Activities)

The primary purpose of the sensorial activities is to help the child in his/her effort to sort out the many and varied impressions given by the senses. They help to do this in four ways: they are specifically designed to develop, order, broaden and refine sense perception. The activities identify a single quality, reveal a range of small differences in the quality and explore patterns in those differences. The child's understanding of the world is "broadened" when the sensorial activities awaken certain sense experiences that were previously unexplored, such as the feel of shapes or the smell of spices. They allow the child to experience and concentrate on particular qualities in perfect clarity and isolation. David Gettman, Basic Montessori Learning Activities for Under Fives

Something that fascinates me about the sensorial aspect of Montessori is the structured sense perception. Instead of merely teaching that one object is red and another is pink- Montessori students can sort color tablets according to the degree of red. Instead of teaching that one object is heavier than another, Montessori students can compare and sort weighted objects. They look, smell, touch, taste materials with a wider understanding of how it compares and contrasts to similar objects in their environment.
David Gettman states that "the Sensorial Activities isolate a single perceptual quality by making each object in a set identical in all respects except one." So instead of showing your child 10 different things that are blue, Montessori's approach is to show blue in relation to other colors- with the only difference in the materials being the color itself. The home teacher


  • 1. cylinder blocks (develop visual discrimination of size)
  • 2. pink tower (develop visual discrimination of differences in three dimensions)
  • 3. brown stair (develop visual discrimination of differences in two dimensions)
  • 4. red rods(develop visual discrimination of difference in one dimension)
  • 5. color tablets (develop perception of colors, hues, and intensities)
  • 6. geometric cabinet (develop child's visual and tactile perception of the shapes of 2 dimensional figures)
  • 7. constructive triangles (visual images may be combined to create different images)
  • 8. square of pythagoras (reinforce concept of combining visual images to create new images)
  • 9. binomial and trinomial cubes (develop visual perception of three dimensional patterns)


  • 1. touch boards (aid the child's fine motor control)
  • 2. touch tablets (refine child's tactile sense)
  • 3. fabrics (further refinement of tactile sense)
  • 4. thermic bottles (develop/refine thermic sense)
  • 5. thermic tablets
  • 6. geometric solids (develop stereognostic sense, which creates mental picture through touch)
  • 7. stereognostic bags (refine stereognostic sense)
  • 8. mystery bag (apply stereognostic sense to the exploration of unknown)
  • 9. sorting grains (refinement of stereognostic sense)
  • 10. visual work with blindfold (apply stereognostic sense to familiar activities guided primarily by sight)
  • 11. baric tablets (develop baric sense)


  • 1. sound boxes (develop child's ability to perceive loudness and softness of sounds)-.
  • 2. bells-(develop perception of tones)


  • tasting cups (teach bitter, salty, sweet, sour)


  • smelling boxes (refine sense of smell)

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