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Our hands feed the mind: a look at the “sensorial” area of the Montessori classroom

Dr. Montessori was a scientific observer. 

According to Montessori, a child between two to six years passes through the “sensitive period for the refinement of senses”. Children during this time are particularly drawn to certain types of activities. She further discovered that through exploration, repetition, and the introduction to language, children learn to refine their senses and their understanding of the world around them. She took each of the senses and developed materials that would support children in using and refining their skills of classification, ordering, and pairing. 

Here you see one of our young Montessorians deeply concentrating as she works with the Pink Tower— an iconic Montessori material.These cubes develop visual discrimination of size in three dimensions. As with all Montessori materials, there is always a purpose in addition to inherent beauty. Working with this material prepares the child to understand mathematical concepts in the decimal system, geometry, and volume.(The cubes increase progressively in the algebraic series of the third power. Therefore, the second cube equals 8 of the first; the third cube equals 27 of the first etc…)

The hands, Dr. Montessori, put forth, feed the mind[i]—where the hands represent the physical way in which we take in information through our senses, from visual to stereognostic. As we classify the things around us, we begin to organize our intelligence.

Do you know the name of the other work pictured here? Share your responses or ask your children to tell you about this “colorful” work pictured on the right!
Happy Montessori Education Week!


[i] The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence.” (Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, p. 25).
The joy and smiles of our children strengthen our commitment to a Montessori early childhood education. Westmont, an accredited school with the American Montessori Society (AMS) and Middle States Association (MSA-CESS), stands as one of the premier Montessori schools in NJ. We welcome you to discover Westmont.