Monday, November 7, 2011

Sensorial Education and the Smelling Bottles

The purpose of Sensorial Education is in the education and refinement of the senses.  Through this, Montessori felt the intellect would grow.  "The training and sharpening of the senses has the obvious advantage of enlarging the the field of perception and of offering an ever more solid foundation for intellectual growth.  The intellect builds up its store of practical ideas through contact with, and exploration of, its environment."  (Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook, 1999, pg. 101)  Dr. Montessori felt children learn most effectively by using their senses during the sensitive periods and the period of the conscious absorbent mind (3-6 years of age). 

Here we have an example of the Smelling Bottles (part of the Sensorial training).  There are two sets of identical aromas and the child smells one and attempts to match it via smell only.  This strengthens the child's olfactory sense and also increases interest and awareness in their environment. 
The key is to make sure there is no other way to detect the material other than smell.  We use a cotton ball as a way to prevent the child from seeing the coffee, cloves etc..

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