I just introduced the first of the sensorial materials to the children...these are the next step after practical life, which we have been doing exclusively for the past 3 preschool sessions. Practical life focuses on the physical skills that children will need to get by in life- pouring, spooning, snapping, tying shoes, using various kitchen utensils, washing hands and brushing teeth (we may introduce this as an activity at some point, so stay posted...) While we will continue to do PL activities and add new ones as the year goes on, we will also begin with the Sensorial activities (and later Language, Math and Culture will arrive on our shelves as well).
Sensorial work is a group of activities that Maria Montessori came up with, based on her extensive work with special-needs kids in Italy, to teach children about their senses- touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. She created materials to teach in a way that the kids couldn't help but learn (they are fun!) but could also check their work themselves and know whether they were correct or not (this is actually how ALL Montessori work functions). Today, for example, I introduced the "pink cubes" and the "brown quadrilateral prisms". And yes, that is actually the name of the work. I will try to refer to them with that name as much as possible, but I think "brown prisms" may suffice. The object is to order the cubes from largest to smallest, and the prisms from thickest to thinnest. There are various other activities to do with the cubes and prisms (such as use them both to build a "brown and pink tower", but I introduced the basics first (ordering them both horizontally and vertically). Here are some pictures: