Sensorial comes from the word sense. In this area the children learn through their senses to make classifications in their environment: which is bigger, which is loudest, which is roughest?
We teach specific subject areas using materials and techniques involving the five senses of the children. Through the senses, the child becomes aware of his/her environment. The five basic senses include: visual, auditory, tactile, gustatory, and olfactory. Based on the five senses, the Montessori philosophy extended the senses to include: chromatic (color), baric (weight), thermic (temperature), stereognostic (muscular and tactile), kinesthetic (visual and tactile), and equilibrium and direction. Children refine their senses in this particular area of the classroom by working with didactic materials that focus and isolate one particular sense at a time.
The students move gradually from concrete to abstract learning, thus grounding their understanding in first-hand experience. Cognitive science confirms that concepts with strong sensory associations are rooted more deeply in the brain. We find Maria Montessori’s words in line with this as well: “First the education of the senses, then the education of the intellect.”