Sense refinement

Young human beings possess an immature brain which is highly plastic, enabling them to assimilate a large quantity of information through their senses. All the sensory information which they receive enables them to shape and structure their intelligence. It is therefore vital, on the one hand, to facilitate the child's connection with the real world so that they can gather visual, olfactory, auditory, gustatory and tactile information and, on the other, to help them hone their sensory perception capacities in order to see, smell, touch and hear better, etc. When their senses are refined in this way, they are able to develop a more discerning, precise and subtle intelligence. We share with you here the sense refinement activities which we worked on with the children and which were selected from the pedagogical legacy of Dr Édouard Séguin and Dr Maria Montessori.

We encourage you to select the activities which suit you best and to supplement them with any activity which you consider to be pertinent. As we pursue our research, we are also continuing to develop and enrich our own practical approach, which we consider to be a starting point, not an endpoint.

Seeing better

Knobbed cylinder blocks
Pink tower
Brown stairs
Red rods
Knobless cylinders
Colour tablets 1
Colour tablets 2
Colour tablets 3
Binomial cube
Trinomial cube
Geometric figures
Roman arch

Hearing better

Sound boxes
Grading the scale of C

Touching better

Mystery bag

Smelling better and tasting better

We also offered the children the chance to refine their gustatory and olfactory senses, but in a more informal and 'dynamic' way. For example, we regularly asked the children to experience tastes and smells during the group activity sessions. We then left some of the scents around the classroom so that the children could go and smell them at any point during the day. During the group activity sessions, we sometimes also asked a child to close their eyes, smell a scent (or taste something) and see if they could name it.

If you want to view more detailed presentations of these activities, please go to the practical underpinning page.