Nienhuis Montessori Sensorial
The Nienhuis Montessori sensorial materials or, more formally apparatus, satisfy the need of the child to classify sensorial impression in an organised, orderly and scientific manner and also allow for individual work and for repetition. They allow the child to undertake such activities spontaneously. Given the opportunity, with or without specialized materials, children will sort things by size, shape, color, touch, sound, temperature and weight. They will grade from dark to light, and from large to small.
Mathematically graded and limited in both scope and quantity the Nienhuis Montessori sensorial materials isolate one quality only, keeping the remaining characteristics identical. This makes it possible for the children to abstract the concept made concrete in each piece of material, to name it, and then to apply it to the environment.
Moreover, they have a built in control of error. Thanks to this control of error, the children acquire the habit of working independently, unafraid of making mistakes, becoming comfortable with the fact that errors are essential to the process of learning. And, incidentally, this establishes a tendency towards intellectual honesty
The sensorial materials have been given many names, such as materialised abstractions, keys to the universe and paths to culture. These multiple denominations are perhaps indicative of the enthusiasm the materials evoke in people who know them well. They are deceptively simple in appearance and very satisfying to the developing child.