Dr. Maria Montessori understood the importance of cultivating a solid exploration of the senses with young children and added Sensorial Studies to the core subjects in her curriculum. In the classroom we explore sight, sound, smell, hearing, and taste as well as a sixth sense Dr. Montessori coined as the “stereognostic sense”. The stereognostic sense refers to the ability to “see with the sense of touch” or how feeling something with your figures that is hidden to the eyes can create an image just as vivid as the sense of sight. We will explore this sixth sense further in the lesson plans.
Sensorial Studies is naturally lined up for outdoor learning and in this time of social isolation and stay-at-home orders it is vital that we also balance social-responsibility with outdoor recreation. It could not be better that it is also springtime! Spring offers a perfect environment for sensorial studies that you can have in your back pocket for any river-side walk, hike on our local trails, or play in the backyard. Spring brings us temperamental weather that we feel through our protective clothes (or lack-thereof if we dressed for sun), new smells that waft our way in the changing winds, many blooms sprouting in our hills and yards and sidewalks to discover with our eyes and noses and fingers, migrating birds of all sizes and colors that make amazing sounds that could be new to our ears.
Exploring our senses and gaining sensorial skills simply requires a little mindfulness by paying attention to a single sense and trying to distinguish any differences you experience. When teaching children about their senses it is important to teach them vocabulary so that they can describe what they are experiencing.