Developing Active Minds, Concentration Skills and Powers of Observation
The main purpose of the Sensorial Area is to enable the child to acquire mental skills and habits that enable her to learn readily and joyfully for the rest of her life.
Dr. Montessori recognized that the child’s reasoning mind needs specific training and preparation, and that the first step is to help the child develop the habit of focusing and concentrating for sustained periods of time. Through years of observation, she came to see that the only way to help a child acquire the capacity to sustain concentration is to provide him with fascinating materials, materials which would draw his natural interest. It is in the act of losing himself in the task—manipulating the materials with his hands to achieve a specific cognitive purpose—that a child develops the mental stamina and skill involved in concentrating over time.
The Montessori Sensorial Exercises are designed to build on this insight. They enable the preschool child to develop the capacity to be active-minded, to sustain concentration over long periods of time, and to exercise sharp powers of observation. In a word, the Sensorial Exercises provide him with a firm cognitive foundation for his journey of becoming a careful observer and an independent, conceptual thinker.