More Than Just The 5 Senses

"Aesthetic and moral education are also closely connected with the training of the senses. By multiplying sense experiences and developing the ability to evaluate the smallest differences in various stimuli, ones sensibilities are refined and ones pleasures increased. Beauty is found in harmony, not in discord; and harmony implies affinities, but these require a refinement of the sense if they are to be perceived. The beautiful harmonies of nature and of art escape those whose senses are dull. " 
~ Maria Montessori, Discovery of the Child

The sensorial materials were created to increase the child’s ability to observe, compare, discriminate, differentiate, reason, decide, solve problems, and appreciate our world.  All of the materials provide the child with a cognitive system where the child can get a basis for order and logic and learn to sort their information as they explore life with an absorbent mind. 
Children, teachers, and parents all over the world appreciate the beauty and precision that Montessori used in designing the sensorial materials.  The materials are auto-educational, meaning they can be used with no teacher/adult interactions allowing the child to work independently and successfully. 
There are ten senses that are introduced in the sensorial materials:
1.    Visual Discrimination

a)    of Size- Exploration of short/tall, thick/thin, big/small and grading of sizes
knobless cylinders, discrimination of size
b)   of Color- Matching, Grading and Identifying the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors

color tablets, discrimination of color
c)    of Form- Working with shapes, and a basic knowledge of geometry

binomial cube
2.    Auditory- Isolation and exploration of hearing

sound cylinders, auditory discrimination
3.    Tactile- Matching, Grading, and Identifying the different feelings of touch
"it feels soft, fluttery"
4.    Stereognostic- Trying to picture what something is without looking at it, smelling it, or hearing it

stereognostic bag
5.    Baric- Matching, Grading, and Identifying differences in weight
exploring with heavy and light baskets, age 18 months
6.    Thermic- Matching, Grading, and Identifying differences in temperature
"My feet are warm, my snow is cold!"

7.  Olfactory-  matching, grading, sorting scents
working with smelling cylinders

8.    Gustatory- Matching, Grading, Identifying, Trying and Testing differences in taste
baking and tasting
9.    Sense of Self- The ways in which the Montessori environment helps to build self-knowledge, self-confidence, and self-respect in a child.

10.  Sense of Wonder- The ways in which the Montessori environment helps to provide the child with the means to explore the world and the beauty and joy of life.
"who lived in this shell?"


Sheila said…
Isn't it amazing how holistic Montessori is? I'm just sad that it wasn't more well-known when I was a kid in the US.
The Monko said…
really great post, i couldn't remember what some of the other senses were so it was really helpful having baric and thermic laid out. Thanks
Deb Chitwood said…
Great post, Jessie! Your descriptions are wonderful ... and I love the photos! I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page:

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