"Sensory Integration plays an important role in the social emotional and cognitive development of a child. A sensory smart classroom provides children with many opportunities for heavy work, movement and other calming or alerting sensory activities to improve their ability to focus during school-related tasks."* Activities that promote sensory exploration support the development of children in all areas.
At Las Terrenas International School we provide a rich environment with many opportunities for children to use their senses. We learn by doing, and the more types of memory teachers can help students to use in the classroom the better the chance is that the information will be retained. The five senses are our connection to the world and to interpreting information. Teaching children to trust their senses is teaching them to learn and come up with answers to their own questions. It teaches the learning process rather than just information or facts.
Here are some of the many ways we incorporate the senses in our classroom and community environments.
Sight- whether observing plants, animals, behaviors or experiments children are learning to observe and draw conclusions.
Smell and touch- "baking" with cinnamon and vanilla playdough
Sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste- on our five senses walks, we focus on one sense each time and encourage students to explore the world using that sense especially, whether sight, hearing, touch, smell or even taste.
Touch, sound and sight. Students at LTIS practice writing and exploring letters with many different mediums. Repeating the movements and sounds used to write and say each letter and putting the whole body into the writing makes the process and product more relevant and interesting for the child. The different feelings of various materials on the fingers keeps children engaged and focused.
Using sand and tiny wax beads to practice writing
Letter stamps on moonsand
Smell, touch and sight with nature materials and nature patterns
In the Preschool Annette encourages students to describe and guess what materials are by touching them in the mystery bag
Children are natural explorers. By providing a sensory rich environment and encouraging students to explore in this way we allow them to learn holistically and help them to hone these amazing tools that are available to them.