There is a sensitive period when a child is naturally interested in doing activities that stimulate, refine and perfect the function of the senses.
A child develops the senses of sight, sound , taste and touch at ages 2.5- 5.
A child relates to his environment through his senses; everything around us is defined by their color, texture, size, shape and smell; the more intricate the detail gets the greater knowledge is absorbed taking the definition to a different level.
Sensorial materials refine and develop the child’s senses; by the use of the materials the child repeatedly discovers new concepts that take him to a new level of awareness; his perception becomes clearer and his mind more orderly.
Only when the mind has a concept of order can the child benefit from the inner order and non error that is built into the sensorial materials.
The material is called by name when being introduced to the child, letting him discover the purpose of the material through working with it. They must be appropriate for the child according to size weight and the level off stimulation the child needs. The teacher must observe the child to know the child’s interests and needs.
Presentations are individuaized in the child’s place of choice; the teacher preferably sits on the child’s dominant side she needs to be clear and use little wording. The child can participate when she is ready, letting her repeat the activity for as many time as she wants.
Sometimes the child will just put the material away after the presentation; wanting to internalize what they see before trying the exercise themselves; ultimately they will try to use the material when they are ready.
During a presentation the teacher first shows how the materials are handled then the activity itself, with it’s purpose and goal. When the presentation is completed the teacher observes the child while he works. If the child does mistakes the teacher should try to understand why without correcting them.
When introducing sensorial materials the Three Period Name Lesson is used to teach properties such as size.
The first period- the teacher provides the child with the answer or terminology.
- The key word being “This is”
- exp.; “this is large, large” showing the child only the large cube.
The second period- the teacher asks the child for the answer.
- The key word being “show me”
- exp.; “show me the cube that is small” placing both small and large cubes together, starting with the last object named. the child points to the small cube. Repeat using different wording.
The third period- the child provides the answer on her own
- the key word being “what is this?” the child will answer.
The teacher should work with the child at his natural speed of development, reviewing before going to the next level.