The work with the sensory materials
The absorbant mind
In the first stage of development - from birth to school entry - Maria Montessori attested to the child an "absorbent mind": a special ability of the young child to soak up all impressions from its environment in their entirety like a sponge. The tools for this are its senses - it hears and smells, it feels and tastes everything in its environment and in this way familiarizes itself with its surroundings.
Order is essential
From around 3 years of age - i.e. when the child enters the children's house - it has the need to structure and order these impressions. It develops concepts by comparing and distinguishing, ordering and categorizing. The sensory materials are Montessori's answer to this need. They give the child the opportunity to become aware of its perceptions and to form categories. It will be able to perceive its environment more and more precisely, because through the work with sensory materials the child learns to direct its attention to ever finer nuances. As a result, it also perceives its environment in an increasingly differentiated way.
Building blocks of intelligence
The impressions that a child classifies through working with the sensory materials are the building blocks for his intelligence. If we give the child the opportunity to gain clear and differentiated impressions, we give the child the means to build a well-structured intelligence.