Developing the Senses

When we think about our child's development, we tend to overlook the sense of smell and sense of taste. These tools are so influential to our experience of the world. In the Montessori classroom, there are structured opportunities to develop the sense of taste and smell, including tasting activities as you see here in our toddler classroom.

In the Olfactory (sense of smell) and Gustatory (sense of taste) Sense Exercises, the child is given a key to his smelling and/or tasting sense. Although not all smells or tastes are given to the child in these exercises, the child does work to distinguish one smell from another or one taste from another. He can then take these senses, and apply them to other smells or tastes in his environment.

At home, you can continue the sensorial lesson by drawing attention to the smells and tastes around you. Slow down and draw attention to the smell of crayons or leather shoes. Take a moment to name whether a new taste is sweet or savory when you introduce them to your child.

Classic Montessori: Red Rods

To help our parents gain a better understanding of the Montessori curriculum, we will be highlighting some of the most iconic Montessori lessons and materials in a series of blog posts beginning with the red rods. Use these posts to initiate a conversation with your child about the work he/she is doing in school.

RED RODS: Sensorial
The Montessori Red Rods are used to teach Length. There is a definite relation between the ten pieces of each series. In the material for length the shortest piece is a unit of measurement for all the rest; the second piece is double the first, the third is three times the first, etc., and, whilst the scale of length increases by ten centimeters for each piece, the other dimensions remain constant.

The Materials:
10 Red Wooden Rods all the same thickness but varying in length with each rod increases in length by the length of the smallest rod. The pieces then stand in the same relation to one another as the natural series of the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

The Objective:
To develop the child’s visual and muscular perception of length
To develop the child’s co-ordination of movement
To provide controlled experiences of seriation (the ability to arrange objects in order by size)
To give the child basic language important in Math
Co-ordination, Balance, Concentration

Flower Arranging: Inspiring Montessori at Home

The warmer weather this week has us all dreaming of an early spring. This is a perfect time to channel the spring cheer into your home with this classic Montessori lesson. This activity includes a number of practical life skills such as carrying a tray, pouring, and using scissors for cutting. You can adapt your flower arranging activity according to your child’s age and experience.


Prepare a tray with flowers, a vase, scissors, water, funnel, and sponge.

1. Using the funnel, the child pours water from cup or pitcher into the vase. The child can wipe up any spills with the sponge.

2. The child takes a stem, measures it against the vase to determine how much to trim, and cuts the stem.

3. The child then places each stem into the vase and arranges them to his/her liking.

4. Let the child decide where to display the vase. This will give them a sense of pride as you admire the work!

A Box of House Toys


A note from Jean Nelson on sharing:

In my home we always had a box of “house toys” tucked away in a closet (to avoid conflict). It came out whenever a child was visiting (who was not invited by my child). I did not expect my child to share her toys with someone she did not know, like and trust. I, and all adults, only share with other adults we love and trust so why would we expect our child to share with a strange child?

The house toy box contained crayons, papers, stickers, blocks, puzzles, trains, balls, and one or two construction sets (Lincoln logs, Lite-Brite, etc.) that could be used by the visitors and my child. She was not expected to share her toys unless she chose to do so.

If, however, she invited a friend to our home the expectation was different. She was expected to share her stuff. Before the friend arrived I would have her put away anything special and /or fragile that she wanted to protect.

Mom and Dad – just remember we only have to share with those we love and trust. It is only fair to give the same choice to your child.