Learning through sensory experiences is a huge part of the Montessori method — there’s even a section of the classroom called “Sensorial” that is completely devoted to noticing differences through the senses. One of the most overlooked is the stereognostic sense [being able to identify an object only by touch, without the use of any of the other senses], because the tactile sense is often used in conjunction with the sense of sight. When you take the sense of sight away, the child is forced to rely completely on her stereognostic sense. To do that, I introduced a blindfold [ours is made by CourtesyAndGrace]!
A blindfold is a great way to extend a lesson that the child has already mastered. Lila has been able to do the knobbed cylinders with ease for years now, so I added a blindfold to raise the difficulty level. Instead of being able to visually see which knob will fit in which hole, she now is forced to slow down and see with her fingers — requiring far greater awareness of the minute differences among the cylinders shapes and sizes.
I also challenged Lila to build the pink tower without being able to see any of the cubes. This is another work that she had mastered long ago, but the blindfold made her slow down to be sure she was choosing the next largest cube as well as placing it carefully on top of the tower without knocking it all over.
Next we will probably try identifying sandpaper numbers while wearing the blindfold — follow along on Instagram to see how it goes!
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