Dr. Maria Montessori felt that sensorial education was a primary key to superior performance intellectually. Her system concentrates on refining each sense in the child, in order that they may function at an optimum level. The ideal age group of children for education in sensorial training is suggested to be between three and seven years.
Aside from the five senses of sight, taste, sound, touch and smell, the Montessori Method teaches about a sixth sense known as the stereognosis sense. This refers to the comprehension of material and objects by the muscles of the body.
Dr. Montessori felt that a child whose senses are stimulated and allowed to explore his environment will give reign to his natural curiosity and be motivated to further explore the world around him. The introduction of stimuli and sensorial activity with no restrictions about how or when he is able to further investigate produces bright and alert children who are eager to know more.
This type of foundation in learning paves the way for enthusiastic learners who are excited and thrilled about academic and intellectual pursuits along with knowing more about everything in their world. Dr. Montessori insisted this was the kind of child she wanted to nurture by her system which was birthed in her ‘House of Children’, rather than stereotyped individuals who have become a part of a mechanical process.
She further reiterated that such children will themselves be far more fulfilled individuals who are at peace with themselves since they have not had to face undue stresses and pressures in order to perform, be correct or meet deadlines. If they have not understood an exercise it is demonstrated to them as many times as necessary until they have fully understood how to accomplish the task at hand.
Children’s initial perception of the world around them is by their senses. What they learn from their senses, and how they learn from them set the trend for how they will perceive their world throughout their lives. This is why it is important that their first Montessori sensorial experiences are positive ones that encourage and motivate, rather than restrict and discourage.
Dr. Montessori believes a child’s learning environment should be a prepared one, which will ensure the child’s experiences will not cause detriment to the child’s morale, nor dissipate his positive energies. A healthy early foundation is one way to produce mentally, emotionally, intellectually and socially healthy children.