Maria Montessori believed that all things begin in the intellect as a sensory experience. She understood that developing the five senses opens the gates to learning. The Sensorial Area does just that. The child begins to explore using touch, taste, sight, sound, and smells. Each sense is isolated in the different materials, providing a myriad of work that they enjoy and the development for the individual senses. As in Practical Life, the Sensorial area becomes a jump off point to other academic areas.
The concept of “left to right” that we see in reading and writing is found here, as well as the math concepts of one to one correspondence, greater than/less than, base 10, and sequence. As the child continues to the older grades, the Sensorial area begins to extend to other areas such as math, science, geometry, and music. Not only have the children developed their senses, but they have also gained the ability to differentiate, organize, categorize, and classify. These skills become imperative later on as they progress to the higher levels of academics.
“The development of the senses indeed precedes that of superior intellectual activity…”
– Maria Montessori