4500 Muncaster Mill Rd, Rockville, MD


Timings: 7:30AM – 6:00PM

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Operated Since 1975

What Is the Purpose of the Sensorial Area?

What Is the Purpose of the Sensorial Area?

Norbeck kindergarten class enjoying a break image

What exactly is a Montessori sensorial lesson?

The purpose of sensorial activities is to help children to sort out the different impressions given by the senses. At Norbeck Montessori in Rockville, these materials are specifically designed to help children develop skills for discrimination, order, and to broaden and refine the senses. So let’s dive right into outlining the definition of Montessori sensorial materials, their purpose, and ways to reinforce some of the things learned in the classroom to the home setting.

The sensorial area in a Montessori classroom focuses on lessons and activities that help develop the five senses: seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling. The lessons and activities provided in the sensorial area of the classroom help children clarify, classify, and understand the world around them.

The sensorial materials are designed with built-in feedback to control errors aimed to show when a mistake has been made. Children are encouraged to be independent of oversight which develops their self-confidence and incentive to practice and improve. A child’s sense perceptions will become structured and capable of comprehending abstract concepts through experiencing the sensorial lessons. The sensorial area is divided into six categories: size, form, color, tactile, gustatory, olfactory, and auditory.

Types of Sensorial Areas for Learning

The following is a list of a few of the lessons found under each respective categories:


    • norbeck iconPink Tower
    • norbeck iconBrown Stairs
    • norbeck iconKnobbed Cylinders
    • norbeck iconKnobless Cylinders
    • norbeck iconRed Rods
    • norbeck iconPositive effect on intellectual growth
    • norbeck iconEnriched and enhanced mental development
    • norbeck iconGreater mental flexibility, including creativity and multi-tasking
    • norbeck iconImproved understanding of their native language
    • norbeck iconIncreased cultural competency and opens the door to a greater worldview
    • norbeck iconEarly appreciation for other cultures
    • norbeck iconPotential for job opportunities where knowing a second language is an asset

    Lessons within the size category help develop the child’s discrimination of differences in size, and weight. These lessons prepare the children for mathematics – counting numbers, composing numbers, and measuring quantity. By working from left to right and up and down, the children prepare reading and writing. Finally, the children develop coordination, concentration, order and most importantly independence.


        • norbeck iconGeometric Solids & Bases
        • norbeck iconBinomial Cube
        • norbeck iconTrinomial Cube
        • norbeck iconConstructive Triangles:
        • norbeck iconRectangle Box
        • norbeck iconTriangle Box
        • norbeck iconLarge Hexagon Box
        • norbeck iconSmall Hexagon Box

        Geometric lessons help develop the child’s visual discrimination in shape and form. Additionally, a child develops the ability to observe progression from concrete to more abstract forms, all while the child learns the various figures. Indirectly, these lessons prepare the child for writing.


          • norbeck iconPrimary Colors Box
          • norbeck iconPrimary Colors Box 2
          • norbeck iconSecondary Color Wheel
          • norbeck iconValue (Black, White, Gray) Color Tablets
          • norbeck iconMixing Black and White
          • norbeck iconColor Gradation Color Box 3

          Developing the chromatic senses allows a child to learn perceived differences between primary and secondary, as well as the various gradations of each. The color lessons also aim to develop a child’s ability to recognize similarities and differences in colors and order.


              • norbeck iconMystery Bag
              • norbeck iconMatching Mystery Bag
              • norbeck iconRough and Smooth Touch Boards
              • norbeck iconRough and Smooth Touch Tablets
              • norbeck iconFabric Box
              • norbeck iconBaric Tablets
              • norbeck iconThermic Bottles
              • norbeck iconThermic Tablets

              Through the tactile lessons, a child learns to perceive the world through touch, developing the ability to discriminate between coarse and fine.

              Gustatory & Olfactory:

                  • norbeck iconTasting Bottles
                  • norbeck iconSmelling Bottles

                  Lessons that develop gustatory and olfactory senses allow a child to explore their world through smells and taste.

                  Most of the lessons found in the Sensorial area of the Montessori classroom can be reinforced through “exploration” at home with your child. For example, when going for a walk, ask your child what the different shapes and colors he/she sees around him/her. Are the objects they are looking at big or small; rough or smooth; good- or bad-smelling; thick or thin; or tall or short? These Sensorial lessons help prepare the child to become a logical, aware, and perceptive individual.


                  What Parents Say

                  We believe that clear communication with parents is essential to the child’s wellbeing. It is particularly important during the early preschool years when children reach and surpass many developmental milestones. Naturally, we work diligently to help each of the children to be best taken care of.  That is the reason why the parents give us  best reviews. Here are a few of them.

                  Stacey Guedes
                  Stacey Guedes
                  My children have been at Norbeck for 5 years and our experience has been nothing but amazing. They are treated and cared for with love and respect. They enjoy going to school every day and have learned how to be independent children both in the classroom and in every day life. They have grown to be upstanding and courteous young ladies
                  fiorella pasara
                  fiorella pasara
                  This place is amazing! When we were looking for a daycare or preschool where to send our 3 year old back then, we did some research and went to different places and realize this was the only one where you could see the kids and the teachers happy and having a great time (remember that's the environment you want your kids to grow in). So we decided for Norbeck and that was the best decision ever! Our son had the best experience during his 4 years there. We even kept him in the Kindergarten program (AMAZING). He learned so much and grew emotionally and socially as well. Great foundation and such a loving atmosphere for the kids. I could not recommend a better place. And BTW did I said he learned reading by 4 years and has started 1st grade knowing addition, subtraction and multiplication? Yep that's how great this place is :)
                  Nisha Patel
                  Nisha Patel
                  Norbeck Montessori has been the most amazing experience for us! Our daughter has been there for over a year and absolutely loves it. The teachers are amazing and make you and your child feel welcome, nurtured and loved! And, the lessons they do on a daily basis are so fun and educational at the same time. Definitely recommend to any parents looking for a positive and warm environment for their kids, and be prepared to be part of a small and loving family!
                  Melanie Deal
                  Melanie Deal
                  What would I have done without Norbeck? This is my daughter's second year and every day I am more and more amazed about how much she is learning. She is only 4 years old and she is able to read, write and count to 100. The activities that the school coordinates through the year nurtures a sense of community/family, events include Halloween parade, Thanksgiving feast, Christmas song festival and much more! She loves her school, teachers and friends. I highly recommend this school.
                  Reese Alutto-Schmidt
                  Reese Alutto-Schmidt
                  Our son has had a wonderful experience at Norbeck. The teachers and staff are incredibly energetic and positive -- they are uniformly dedicated to nurturing and teaching kids. Everyone clearly loves their jobs. The school's parent community is welcoming and active for those parents that are interested. We plan to send our second child next year!
                  Laura Calderone
                  Laura Calderone
                  We love Norbeck! The staff are amazing taking care of our children like warm and nurturing parents and help guide them on their educational journey. Our 5 year old is already reading, doing fractions and loves the science class. Our 3 year old knows Spanish phrases and can write his own name. Your child will cultivate incredible skills and gain all the tools they need to be driven, focusing amazing people.
                  Lesley Lightfoot
                  Lesley Lightfoot
                  My son has only been with Norbeck Montessori for 2.5 months (at the time of this review). The progress, and noticed development that has happened during that time has been incredible for my husband and I to see. He has grown socially, physically, and mentally, all thanks to what is offered at the school from the moment of drop off, until we see him at the end of the day. We feel assured that he is with Norbeck Montessori.
                  Beth Davis
                  Beth Davis
                  Norbeck Montessori is one of those rare places where children can go to learn in a loving and supportive environment full of enrichment opportunities and amazing teachers. Norbeck has been a part of our family for nearly three decades. As a Norbeck alumni, I would not want to see my kids anywhere else. My children started attending the school ten years ago, when my oldest was 2 ½, and we have remained in the Norbeck family as each of our children has grown to preschool age. In the past ten years we have had three children attend Norbeck, one of whom is in the Jr. K program this year. Today, many of the same kind and smiling faces of teachers we have known for years welcome us with open arms each morning. Tara and Ryan along with Keira have done an amazing job of revamping the program and adding fresh new extracurricular programs like soccer, gymnastics and cooking classes. Norbeck is not only an amazing environment for children to learn and grow, it is a true community atmosphere where families come together and form lifelong friendships. Some of my closest friendships started at Norbeck and my oldest daughter is still very close friends with several of the friends she made at Norbeck over ten years ago. A first grade teacher from our local elementary school recently approached me and said “Your daughter is a Norbeck kid, isn’t she?" When I confirmed, she continued, saying "I can tell. The kids from that school come in here heads and shoulders above so many other kids. Not only are they working at higher levels in reading and math, they have a strong grasp of science and an appreciation for art and music that we don’t see coming out of other programs.” And it is true. Sending our kids to Norbeck has been an investment in their future. My oldest, who is now in 7th grade, and my second child, now in 1st, are both receiving accelerated instruction in all subjects. I cannot say enough great things about this amazing school that has contributed so much to the education and enrichment of my family.
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