Since a child naturally uses all his powers of observation during his early years, Dr. Montessori felt this was the ideal time to give the child equipment which would sharpen their senses and enable them to understand the many impressions they receive through them.
It is possible for adults, as well as children, to receive any number of sensory impressions and be none the wiser. Sense impressions are not enough by themselves; the mind needs education and training to be able to discriminate and appreciate. Sensorial materials help the child to distinguish, to categorize, and to relate new information to what they already know. Dr. Montessori believed that this process is the beginning of conscious knowledge. It is brought about by the intelligence working in a concentrated way on the impressions given by the senses.
Sensorial materials are self-correcting to allow independent use, they foster muscular development which lays the foundation for writing skills, and they are produced to precise metric tolerances. Correct terminology and mathematically exact relationships enrich the child’s experience so that abstract concepts may attach to familiar reality.