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How Montessori Supports Sensory Processing

Updated: May 8, 2023

Does your child seem overwhelmed when there are loud noises and bright lights flashing? Does your child have strong reactions to certain smells or tastes? Sensory processing is what happens when information is received through any one of the 5 senses: sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. That’s why children can be overwhelmed in loud places with lots of lights, like a concert. It is a lot of information being input all at the same time.

Montessori helps children isolate and differentiate each of the senses, allowing the children to learn about the world around them. Here are some ways that you can support and develop your child’s sensory processing skills with some at-home Montessori ideas:

  • Improve touch processing through creative play

This can include a variety of fun activities such as sandbox hunting with small toys, finger painting, shaving cream drawing, or foam and slime hand explorations. Encouraging children to interact with objects in a safe environment can help develop the sense of touch in a non-intimidating way. Montessori classrooms also use smooth and rough boards, touch tablets, and different fabrics to help children develop their sense of touch.

  • Improve visual processing by playing a classic game–catch!

A growing child will benefit from playing a game of catch as good practice for visual processing. If the child can’t catch the ball, it would be helpful to utilize a larger but softer ball until they are able to work with a smaller one. Montessori encourages outdoor play with beach balls, foam balls, dodgeballs, soccer balls, and more.

  • Improve auditory processing through listening activities

One way to help a child with auditory processing at home is to encourage them to listen to music or stories without watching a video. This makes hearing the primary method of sensory input. Montessori classrooms also use sound boxes and bell sets to promote auditory processing development.

Montessori learning is all about engaging the senses, this also includes proprioception, or the so-called sixth sense which tells the body where it is. Proprioception is very important to the brain, as it plays a large role in self- regulation, coordination, posture, body awareness, the ability to focus and speech. Montessori environments constantly promote the development of this sense through independent practical life work, where children are taught and encouraged to move trays by themselves, practice pouring activities, etc.

Dr. Maria Montessori once wrote, “The senses, being explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge.” Call us at 714-871-2311 to schedule a tour of our classroom to see just how Montessori works!

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