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"The senses are points of contact with the environment." How does activity with sensorial materials encourage observation and perception of the environment?

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Introduction

" The senses are points of contact with the environment." How does activity with sensorial materials encourage observation and perception of the environment? When a child is born, he begins his conquest for independence. The infant has an absorbent mind, with which to take in the general environment through each of the five senses. It is through exploration using the five senses that the infant becomes familiar to objects in his environment. In this essay, you will read about the early years of the child, from age 0-6 and the child's need in discovering the world and becoming independent. It is through the five senses that the child begins his conquest for independence. I will discuss the topic on sensorial impressions versus sensorial education. Sensorial training in a Montessori environment is given through the use of specially designed apparatus. You will read about the characteristics of these materials and how they aid a child's development in different areas. The Early Years "...the child's nature is to aim directly and energetically at functional independence.." (The Absorbent Mind, Chap 8, pg 76) There are two aspects to formation of man, the mental and the physical. From birth to the age of three years, "the child 'absorbs' his environment, takes everything from it, and incarnates it in himself." (The Absorbent Mind, Chapter 7, page 57) Children at this period learn unconsciously and it is thus important that parents prepare an environment that is ideal for the child's pursuit of self-construction. From the ages of three to six years, the child will start to organize himself, building himself through work and integrating his mental development with his present experiences. ...read more.

Middle

Consequently, she developed a vast array of learning materials from which concepts begin as concrete expressions of an idea and gradually become more abstract. The greater the child's absorption with a piece of material, the more likely he is making the transition from concrete knowledge to abstract knowledge. They play an important role in helping students develop their sense of order. Characteristics of Sensorial Materials The sensorial materials are highly interesting to young children and are a major area of concentration, typically between ages three and six years. "The sensorial materials comprise a series of objects grouped together according to some physical quality which they have, such as color, shape, size, sound, texture, weight, temperature, and so forth." (Discovery of the Child) The essential qualities needed in any sensorial apparatus are as follows:- 1. The isolation of a single quality in the material Sensorial materials have many qualities, such as weight, texture, colour, form, size and so forth, however, there is an isolation in single quality, and attention may focus on it. For example, in colour tablet, they are used to distinguish colour. They are made from the same material, size, and dimension, but then they are of different colour. 2. Indirect preparation for a more advanced activity Each piece of material acts as an indirect preparation for a more advanced activity. For example, pink tower exercise. The direct purpose of this exercise are visual and muscular perception of dimensions and an awareness of dimension leading to observation, co-ordination of movement, and development if concentration, independence and appreciation for beauty in design. On the other hand, by doing this exercise, children are being prepared for mathematical mind. ...read more.

Conclusion

The mental attitude acquired by such exercises leads the child to make ordered observations in his environment that may be as interesting as discoveries. In this instance, a child out on a boat in the sea would marvel at the different shades of blue he experiences and would understand the beauty of nature. Another example is the exercise for perception of dimension, building the pink tower. The child learns after much practice that he needs first to discriminate the different sizes and to make steady accurate movements before a harmonious looking tower can be built. When the child stands up to admire his tower, he can see the beauty of it. In turn, this child, if asked to arrange a stack of books would do so by arranging it from the biggest to the smallest. And maybe this child, upon seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris, not only would marvel at its beauty, but also perhaps even understand the concept of how it was built. Conclusion Sensorial education gives the child the ability to make precise observations of the natural world. Not only are his senses refined, giving him the power to understand his surroundings, but the child also receives experiences in artistic, architectural and musical appreciation which in my opinion, develops him into a perceptive person. The sensorial education is the base for intellectual education. The children of today will be tomorrow's adults. You could even say that the child exists to become an adult. As an adult, he will build and nourish his social environment. And I feel that an adult can do that well only if he has been given the opportunity to understand the world around him. The child stands at the basis of human life and therefore he is the builder of the human. ...read more.

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