"The senses, being explorers
of the world, open the way to knowledge.
Our apparatus for educating
the senses offers the child a key to guide
his explorations of the world..."
Dr. Maria Montessori
Many of the children within our learning space engage in imaginative play in the kitchen area on a daily basis. As they re-enact familiar experiences, roles and construct dramatic play with their peers the children build meaning about everyday life. As an observer of this play, one can gather a multitude of information about the children's thinking. We ponder the following: In what ways do the children communicate their ideas? How do they show their previous experiences? What connections through relationships with each other and materials are formed during this play?
In response to the children's play they were offered the sensory play proposal in the photo above. To engage their senses dried chocolate mint was placed on the wooden scoops. Each material was carefully and thoughtfully chosen to enrich the children's experience. The children were already experienced with scooping and filling using many of the materials from previous experiences within the learning environment. Offering children these types of materials develops not only fine motor skills but leads to the development of their ability to problem solve, make decisions, and connect to the everyday experiences they may see in the kitchens in their homes. What the children within our learning space had not been offered before was the mortar and pestle. They curiously asked about this tool and eagerly added the mint to the mortar and began to pound with the pestle. It will be a tool that we will definitely include more in our provoking of the children's thinking.