Sensorial comes from the words sense or senses. As there are no new experiences for the child to take from the Sensorial work, the child is able to concentrate on the refinement of all his senses, from visual to stereognostic. Sensorial Exercises were designed by Montessori to cover every quality that can be perceived by the senses such as size, shape, composition, texture, loudness or softness, matching, weight, temperature, etc. Because the Exercises cover such a wide range of senses, Montessori categorized the Exercises into eight different groups: Visual, Tactile, Baric, Thermic, Auditory, Olfactory, Gustatory, and Stereognostic.
- Visual Sense: the child learns how to visually discriminate differences between similar objects and differing objects.
- Tactile Sense: the child learns through his sense of touch.
- Baric sense: the child learns to feel the difference of pressure or weight of different objects.
- Thermic: the child works to refine his sense of temperature.
- Auditory Sense : the child discriminates between different sounds
- Olfactory and Gustatory Sense: the child is given a key to his smelling and tasting sense.
- Stereognostic: the child learns to feel objects and make recognitions based on what he feels.
The purpose and aim of Sensorial work is for the child to acquire clear, conscious, information and to be able to then make classifications in his environment. Montessori believed that sensorial experiences began at birth. Through his senses, the child studies his environment. Through this study, the child then begins to understand his environment. The child, to Montessori, is a “sensorial explorer”.
Through work with the sensorial materials, the child is given the keys to classifying the things around him, which leads to the child making his own experiences in his environment. Through the classification, the child is also offered the first steps in organizing his intelligence, which then leads to his adapting to his environment.