A Unique Sensory Education for 3-6 Year Olds at BHMS
Published on May 1, 2018
Many of us take it for granted that we see, hear, touch, taste and smell to learn about the world around us. From birth, we have been receiving stimulus and information through our hands, eyes, mouth, ears and nose. BHMS Casa program offers an exceptional curriculum intended to improve the clarity and processing of in-coming sensory information and to heighten overall learning in our students. Throughout the three years of Casa, our students have the special opportunity to enhance their sensory abilities.
Most young children have powerful senses. The third to sixth year of life represent a developmental stage ripe for perceiving details and qualities and for internalizing external organization systems. Parents generally notice their child is more sensitive to sounds and tastes than adults whose sensory acuity is declining with age. Our program is unique in its use of lessons and practice with hands-on, senses-on didactic materials to capitalize on this temporarily heightened sensitivity.
The benefits of exercising and refining sensory abilities are significant. Refined powers of discrimination increase children’s intelligence. Children’s observations become more vivid and lucid by means of work with the Sensorial apparatus, specially designed learning materials that isolate one quality at a time. These include the quality of diameter with the Cylinder Blocks, of width with the Brown Stairs, of length with the Red Rods, of texture with the Touch Fabrics, or of chromatic tint with Colour Box 3.
These intentionally simplified apparatus allow the child to distinguish the “essential details from the random ones”(1) and detect similarities, differences and gradations or seriations. The children’s work is to match similar qualities or arrange the component objects in order, such as thickest to thinnest or tallest to shortest cylinder, or for instance, from darkest to lightest shade of blue. The purpose of expanding the child’s consciousness is to facilitate mental processes used in learning intellectual concepts of all kinds: visual-spatial reasoning, comparison-making, classifying and sequencing.
Through Sensorial work, children can refine his/her accuracy of sensory perception and the exercise of this capacity in purposeful activities gives our students an edge in literacy and numeracy learning. They can more readily detect patterns and contrasts in language, math and geometry systems. The children’s practice with the Sensorial activities also improves physical coordination and social functioning along the way. The Sensorial curriculum strengthens focus, judgment, and “…the ability to self-regulate. Sensory activities facilitate whole brain learning and [make] children…more successful academically and practically.”(2)
This special curriculum is not offered in daycares, traditional preschools or other early childhood education. Of course our students will not be able to explain the nature of their sensory development in response to a parent’s query “what did you learn today?”. However, parents at BHMS can be assured that their children will have a unique advantage as a result of their Casa education with us: a special preparation for future learning with extra depth and precision.
by Pamela Lawler, Casa Director
Cited(1) Author not specified. “Montessori Materials and Activities for Sensory Processing Disorder”. May 2010, http://montessoritraining.blogspot.ca/2010/05/montessori-education-sensorial.html(2) Rachel Hendron, “The Purposes of the Sensorial Exercises”. Dec. 2011. http://montessoricommons.cc/the-purposes-of-the-sensorial-exercises/