A multi-sensory approach to learning!
From the moment babies are born they are ready to learn, grow and explore. They will instantly begin to use their senses to try to understand the strange, new world around them. Using their senses to explore the world continues into early childhood development and is something we as adults rely upon without realising. Our senses provide us with vital information that informs our decision making thousands of times a day. Providing sensory experiences for children is therefore crucial to their brain development and helps to build up this skill for themselves.
Research shows that opportunities for sensory play are crucial in brain development as it builds nerve connections in the brain’s pathways which leads to the ability to carry out and understand more complex learning tasks. Babies and young children have a lot to learn and are beginning to make connections, links and develop their understanding of people, places, shapes, interactions, sounds and objects around them all the time!
It is crucial to make learning multi-sensory for young children because learning is all about connections and every piece of learning needs to have multiple connections. The more you ‘trace’ a connection, the more able you are to recall it and the more accurate your recall is.
Multi-sensory means engaging more than one sense at a time and by using more than one sense children are more likely to connect with what they are learning.
Multi-sensory learning will help make learning stick and can be used across the curriculum. A few of my favourite sensory ideas are:
- Using loose parts e.g. milk bottle top lids to create words by writing different sounds on each lid for the children to physically push together.
- Tracing spellings in salt, glitter, gloop or coloured rice!
- Bouncing a ball with numbers on to generate number sentences for maths.
- Creating mnemonics, songs and raps to recall facts.
Sensory play is also great for developing self-regulation and can be a useful tool to support children to be in an appropriate emotional state to learn. A few sensory bases that can be great for play are:
- Shaving foam
- Coloured rice
- Black beans
- Coloured chickpeas
A multi-sensory approach to learning has numerous benefits for all learners, including:
- Supporting language development.
- Supporting cognitive growth.
- Developing fine and gross motor skills.
- Encouraging problem solving.
- Encouraging scientific thinking.
- Allowing for social interaction.
- Prompting awareness of one’s self.
- Promoting mindfulness and building resilience.
For further ideas and examples of how to use a multi-sensory approach to learning and sensory play follow me on social media @mymummyteacher.