Never give the mind what has not first been experienced by the hand.
First the Education of the senses, then the Education of the intellect.
Above are some of the many quotes written by Dr. Maria Montessori on the importance of sensorial education in the development of the child during the early formative years (0-6 years)
A child is ready to absorb information about their surroundings or environment right from the moment they are born. This happens with the use of their five senses: listening to their parents/caregivers talk, sing, read etc, touch their face, their body, parents ,their toys, smell things around them, taste new kinds of food, lick their fingers & lick everything around them. This kind of sensorial explorations help the brain grow and mature. It also helps form the nerve connections and strengthen them.
Positive sensory exploration help build stronger brain connections and brain pathways, these help support learning and development in the child which extends further even when they are older and are adults. Children without such sensorial opportunities end up having a negative impact on their development and stunted learning growth.
I have observed this in my teaching classroom experience with a few children that have stayed home without much sensorial explorations when they were newborn and toddlers : this impacts their fine motor and gross motor skills even when they are 4 or 5 year olds. They have a hard time doing self-care activities like dressing up, tying shoe laces, holding food utensils etc.
Children that don’t have enough sensorial explorations in early childhood also have a hard time working on their pincer grasp or writing preparation. They would need lots of practice with pre-writing activities, tons of practical life/sensorial activities and lots of support & encouragement from the caregivers to be successful with their penmanship.
Research has proven that sensorial explorations which provide many opportunities for each of the 5 senses helps with both gross and fine motor skills, which in turn impact basic coordination, motor development and day-to-day life skills.
In order for a child to be independent, confident, be well coordinated and be successful in their learning , they need to have many different explorations with sensorial activities that cater to each and every sense.