When babies first interact with the world, they don’t have words to describe what they encounter, but they do absorb information through their senses. A newborn’s sight is limited at first, but as they get older their sight becomes more finely tuned. A newborn also begins to hear sounds in the womb and can distinguish her mother’s voice from other voices at birth. She can differentiate between sweet and sour tastes, will gravitate toward more pleasant smells, and is comforted by warmth and a soft touch.
Preschoolers and Kindergarteners act a lot like scientists when they learn through their senses. Our senses allow us to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. They are very important to help the children to experience the world around us. Find out more about what each of these senses do and how they work!
Sense of Vision
We use our sight more than any other sense. We see because our eyes and brain work together to make pictures of what is in front of us. Every experience a preschooler has is an opportunity for growth and development. They use their vision to guide other learning experiences. From ages 2 to 5, a child will be fine-tuning the visual abilities gained during infancy and developing new ones. Stacking building blocks, rolling a ball back and forth, coloring, drawing, cutting, or assembling lock-together toys all help improve important visual skills. Preschoolers depend on their vision to learn tasks that will prepare them for school. They are developing the visually-guided eye-hand-body coordination through these activities. The fine motor skills and visual perceptual abilities necessary to learn to read and write.
Sense of Tasting
The taste buds on the tongue are important to identify the taste of foods. During the early childhood/preschool, the can children explore the 4 major tastes that the tongue can sense; bitter, sweet, sour and salty. In early childhood/ in preschool these taste buds need to be triggered through some Montessori activities which can lead the child to distinguish different food having different types of taste. Even the child can categorize the different foods under their type of taste. Once the child is grown up with the developed taste buds, he /she can match the type of taste with their food source.
Sense of Smelling
Our sense of smell may be the most undervalued of our five basic senses. Nonetheless, the ability to smell is important, as it is closely linked to our ability to taste. Smells can also evoke particularly memories, and smells can calm or to excite us. In Montessori education, smelling bottles are commonly found in the sensorial area of the classroom. The typical presentation involves giving kids two sets of bottles with matching smells. Children are then asked to smell the bottles in order to match up the smells from each set.
The sense of smell, also called olfaction, involves the detection and perception of microscopic odour molecules in the air. These tiny chemicals enter the nose and stimulate specialized sensory cells called olfactory neurons.
Sense of Hearing
The primary system responsible for our sense of hearing is the auditory system. The auditory system includes the ears, of course, but also other auditory components inside the ears and brain.
In Montessori education, children often use a special set of noise boxes or a set of sound cylinders, when learning to discriminate and identify musical notes.
Hearing, or audition, is accomplished by detecting sound vibrations through the ear. These vibrations are then turned into nerve impulses that flow to the brain, which interprets the signal in order to understand the sound.
Sense of Touching
Our skin is the primary organ of touch on our bodies. Our sense of touch is strongest on our fingertips. Nonetheless, we are able to perceive touch on all parts of our skin.
An activity commonly found in the sensorial area of the Montessori classroom is touch board /touch tablets. The top layer of our skin is called the epidermis. This layer contains touch receptor cells that take in information from the environment and pass it along to our brains. In this way, our sense of touch is what gives our brain information about temperature, texture, pressure, and more.
A child’s brain develops rapidly during the first five years of life, especially the first three years. It is a time of rapid cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional and motor development. Rapid language learning continues into the preschool years.
The child’s brain grows as she or he sees, feels, tastes, smells and hears. Each time the child uses one of the senses, a neural connection is made in the child’s brain. New experiences repeated many times help make new connections, which shape the way the child thinks, feels, behaves and learns now and in the future.