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 detail than he could see in the dark, or uneducated state.

Maria Montessori

Introduction to Sensorial

Our senses help us to understand our world; they act as “scouts” in helping us to gather information about our world. They are the pathways to intelligence. Senses gather information, but the brain processes and analyses the information as it is connected to every sense. Education of the senses is educating each sense to be aware of the smallest stimuli, thus increasing the sensitivity of each sense. With refinement of his/her senses, the child learns to appreciate the world. The child also deepens his/her understanding and awareness of the surroundings. The Sensorial activities allow the child to discriminate small differential stimuli and give the child means by which he/she can order the mind.

Our senses

  • Tactile sense

Our sense of touch originates in our skin, but for the Sensorial exercises, the tactile sense is isolated to the fingers and the fingertips. The tactile exercises are done with a blindfold to disable the visual sense, and to isolate and concentrate the tactile sense.

  • Visual sense

Our sense of sight originates in our eyes. The Sensorial exercises for the visual sense include recognizing gradations as well as colours.

  • Gustatory sense

Our sense of taste lies in our tongue. The child begins to be aware and distinguish between the different tastes. There are four fundamental tastes: sweet, salty, bitter and sour.

  • Auditory sense

Our sense of hearing lies in our ears. The Sensorial exercises for the auditory sense involve objects which look the same but emit different sounds when shaken or struck. The child has to distinguish the differences between the different types of sound by careful listening.

  • Olfactory sense

Our sense of smell lies in our nose. The Sensorial exercises for the olfactory sense involves soaking cotton balls in different solutions but placed in identical bottles. The child distinguishes between the different smells.

In addition to our five basic senses, we also have four complex senses. The complex senses are so called because they incorporate more than one sense in them. Our four complex senses are:

  • Baric sense

Our baric sense is connected with our tactile sense. It is our sense of weight and lies in our hands. When two objects are carried, one in each hand, we are able to tell which one is the heavier by instinctively moving our hands up and down to feel its weight.

  • Thermic sense

Our thermic sense is connected with our tactile sense. It is our sense of temperature and it lies in our hands. By touching surfaces of different temperatures, we are able to determine which surface is hotter than the other or which, cooler.

  • Muscular sense

Our muscular sense is connected with our tactile sense. It is the memory of our muscles and it lies in our body. It is a memory of movements made by the use of muscles.

  • Stereognostic sense

Our stereognostic sense is connected with our tactile sense and our muscular sense. It is our sense of forms and shapes and it lies in our hands.