Two of the unique learning areas within the carefully prepared environment of the Montessori classroom are Practical Life and Sensorial Activities.
The Practical Life area provides the foundation for future learning. Through the use of the activities, the child develops the skills of order, concentration, coordination and independence. The activities are designed to enable the child to explore his environment through movement while gaining harmony with his brain, senses and muscles. This area gives the child direction and movement through repetition and promotes confidence to face challenges and change.
The activities in the Practical Life area appeal to the young child’s sensitive period of order, imitation and self-awareness. These include grasping, spooning, using tongs, pouring beans and water, scooping, opening and closing, stringing beads, and care of the environment through the use of sponges and a broom and dustpan.
The Sensorial area allows the child to explore the world around her/him through the senses. These exercises help the child develop a keener eye for discrimination of contrasts and minute details. Each material isolates one defining quality such as color, weight, shape, texture, size, sound and smell. In using these exercises the child will gain a sharpened sense of perception, learn basic problem solving and have the opportunity of abstract learning.
The activities in the Sensorial area help the child develop his awareness of the different characteristics and qualities of objects around his/her by using the senses. The area includes the knobbed cylinders, the knobless cylinders, pink tower, brown stair, color tablets and sorting exercises.