Why develop your senses?

“Nothing happens to the intelligence that has not first passed through the senses.”

Thomas Aquinas

We always seek to develop our senses, even as adults. This is quite logical, because that is where everything begins. We are connected to the world through our senses.

Our senses provide the soil for cognitive development, vocabulary development and openness to others.

Our senses are at the very source of all our learning.

Human functional development is based on impressions. It is the encounter between sensory elements and cognitive representations that is the source of impression formation when encountering a person or an event.

Take experts in a field. They have strategies that do not rely solely on sensory information to develop their expertise. Chess players, for example, can become very good, anticipate moves and play in a very short time. But their strategic knowledge is based on impressions. When they look at the chessboard and the arrangement of the pieces, they have a global perception of the pattern they form. They automatically associate these visual signals with a sequence of moves; they know whether to attack or defend, etc.

In all domains we find something similar. We can observe this for reading (CASTLES, Anne et al. – June 2018).

When a child starts to read, he learns to break words into syllables, which are called phonemes. They have to associate sounds with syllables. For example, if we teach him the word “hat”, he has to assimilate that the letters c-h-a make the sound “cha”, etc

When we are adults, we no longer go through the sounds. We have changed the way we perceive words. We put our eyes on the beginning of the word. And automatically, we perceive the word as a whole.

Our five senses are as much involved as all our other abilities when we want to become good at something.

When a child starts to become better at doing something, the sensory perceptions come into play along with language and memory.

Scientific bibliography :

CASTLES, Anne et al. Ending the Reading Wars: Reading Acquisition From Novice to Expert. Psychological Science in the Public Interest. June 2018. Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 5-51.

Why reinforcing sensory development?

For babies, sense development comes first, before the development of conceptual and abstract aspects. It is the fundamental building block of development.

If babies are given a varied sensory education, their development will be considerably facilitated

  • language acquisition,
  • cognitive activities,
  • social relationships,
  • but also their development
  • and well-being!

In fact, with these initial stages, we are already working on the richness of our child’s language, even before he or she is in the speech stage.

When we talk to our children, we are giving them sensory stimuli. We are building the fundamental building blocks.

On the page about hearing, you will find games and exercises to stimulate the sense of hearing.

Learning is better if several of our senses are stimulated simultaneously. Multi-sensory perception leads to categorisation, language, cognitive development, etc.

The combination of the senses and the development of thought

Let us take an example. How does a child acquire the concept of a dog? There are so many different dogs. After all, there is a big difference between a Chihuahua and a German Shepherd.

The parent will say “dog” when pointing to a Chihuahua; and he will say “dog” when pointing to a German Shepherd. The child will be exposed to many different dogs. And that’s where multisensoriality comes into play.

Because children will also associate barking with the animal (auditory signals). Even though barks are different from one dog to another, two barks have more similarities than a bark and a meow. There may also be olfactory signals: a wet dog smells the same, regardless of species or size.

After a while, children will automatically attach the label “dog” to the animal.

Emotional perception will also complement sensory perception. Let us imagine that the child’s mother is afraid of dogs. The child will quickly realise that when faced with different dogs, there is a common thread: the mother’s fearful reaction.

Our ability to understand the world comes from the fact that we create categories. Mental categories are not static, but dynamic, fed by successive experiences.

Stimulating multiple senses for learning

In the beginning were the senses. And we at “5 senses for kids Foundation” are committed to developing the children’s perceptual skills, because they will promote learning. This is the fundamental building block: the foundation from which intelligence, language, creativity and imagination can better develop.

Stimulation of the senses is the key element that will allow us to see a fulfilled adult much later on.