The Sensorial curriculum gives the child opportunities to discover the unique opportunities of each of their senses through well-designed materials in the prepared environment. The Developmental Aims of the Sensorial materials are “to observe, compare, contrast, discriminate, reason, decide, solve problems, make judgements, create order and appreciate the world.”
There is a great emphasis placed on the Visual Sense. With materials such as the Cylinder Blocks, Pink Tower, Broad Stair, Long Rods, and Knobless Cylinders; children learn discrimination and graduation of dimension, height, width, diameter, volume and thickness. The Color Tablets also train the child to develop great attention-to-detail as these five boxes progress from a simple matching activity for the primary colors in Color Box 1 to the gradation of seven tones of nine colors in Color Box 5.
Muscular-Tactile Sense is another major component of the Sensorial curriculum. Children learn about different surfaces like rough and smooth through Touch Boards and Touch tablets that demonstrate the contrast between fine to rough grit versus the smooth wood finish. The teacher gives the child precise language for the surfaces they are exploring. Children also balance Baric Tablets to learn how to differentiate weight to identify which tablets weigh more or less than the others.
In Auditory Sense, children again start with the basics. The Sound Cylinders are comprised of 6 cylinders, 3 pairs. There are two soft-sounding cylinders, two middle-sounding cylinders and two loud-sounding cylinders. The child takes turns rattling the cylinders by their ears to find pairs, and then match them.
Olfactory Sense teaches children to identify various smells with the Smelling Cylinders. Again, there are three pairs of distinct scents in cylinders. The child has a control cylinder and uses that knowledge to find its match.
The Gustatory Sense helps the child to refine their sense of taste as the teacher gives them the precise vocabulary for the different substances they are tasting. The Tasting Tray lesson also uses distinct materials so that the child can classify the substances.