Aristotle once wrote, “Nihil in intellectu quad non prius in sensu,” which means, “Nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses.” Like Aristotle, as well as many other philosophers and psychologists, Maria Montessori recognized the importance of the senses in relation to a child’s intellectual development. Dr. Montessori believes that senses are the way we explore the world, and they open the way to knowledge. They are related to manifestations of intelligence. Through the senses, the child studies the environment, objects, and relationships between people.
Through interaction with sensorial materials, the child is able to concentrate on the
refinement of all his senses, from visual to tactile. Sensorial work helps the child follow his natural development and respond to the sensitive periods. Refining the senses allows the child to
absorb as much as he can and helps him to organize his mind. Socially, it helps the child adapt to the environment and understand his or her surroundings. It prepares the child for the elements he needs to understand the world such as colors, pitches, dimensions, weight, etc. and teaches him how to compare, quantify and qualify these elements.