Have you ever witnessed a child’s bad mood disintegrate with a splash in the bath? Or maybe you’ve seen intense concentration in a child’s face when sifting dry rice or sand through his fingers? Although children respond differently to sensory experiences, these experiences can be therapeutic, improve motor skills, raise awareness of how the world works, and contribute to language acquisition.
From the very first day that a baby is born they start to make meaning of the world. The usually do this through their senses. They feel the loving touch of their parents, they hear the voices of siblings, quiet music or a loud television, they taste foods and identify them as nice or not. They look at shapes and colours and make meaning, linking previous knowledge. In fact, as we grow we continue to use our senses, combined with our previous experiences to make meaning of the world.
At school, our students learn best when they feel safe, are happy, can make connections and achieve. As they grow, there is usually a greater dependence on specific senses rather than an equal balance across all five senses. This also then has a significant influence on the type of learning style they prefer. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean that they are limited to one style, it is just that they might prefer a particular style.
Research shows that each of us develop sensory awareness at different rates and because of this it is important that we continue to create opportunities for children to further develop. Hands on, making and creating activities are important, as is physical exercise, where we work on fine/gross motor as well as balance and coordination.
The Parent Association has directed some of its funds towards the purchasing of sensory development equipment which will be used in the Primary Division. In the coming weeks there will be another article on just how some of this equipment is being used. However, here are some images of some of the equipment being enjoyed by our students.
Cameron Reed | Dean of Studies, Primary