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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL developMent oF the SenSeS:  the preSchool YearS how senses Develop in preschoolers Perceptual development, or the development of the interpretation of sensorial information (sound, sight, touch, taste, and kinesthesia), doesn’t just hap- pen the way that growing taller does. Children have to be able to interpret the signals their eyes, ears, skin, nose, and body bring to them and to use the information. This ability is a kind of intelligence. Like all other knowledge, sense stimuli have to be experienced in a variety of ways to bring meaning to the sensation. Just hearing a noise is not enough. The ear may hear the sound, but unless the brain interprets the information and relates it to some- thing, the sound is meaningless. Understanding a sound comes from knowing its cause or source. All children should have daily activities that stimulate every sense. Activities for an older child often limit sensory input to seeing and hearing. Yet, only through the interplay of all senses can a child learn to the fullest. The exception to this would be taste: most older children do not put objects in their mouths to taste them. They rely on their other senses for information about the objects. They mainly use their mouths and tongue to taste, not feel as infants and toddlers do. Often adults must incorporate sensory activities into the preschool environment to ensure that all senses are stimu- lated every day. Conversations during snack- and mealtimes need to hone in on the taste and texture of foods. Preschoolers can be encouraged to identify smells and textures of their foods. If the stimuli are not naturally in the classroom, bring them in so that the senses aren’t neglected. Children will delight in exploring temperatures and textures of foods such as a smooth apple, a cold banana, or a bumpy orange rind with their tongues. Some foods are sticky, some soothing, and others crunchy. Your imagination and creativity can expand on these ideas. hearing Hearing is refined during the preschool years. Lis- tening skills are very important for language acqui- sition. Vocabulary and enunciation are dependent upon listening. Hearing the phonemes and syl- lables in words is directly related to the ability to read. Illness and infections affect hearing, so chil- dren need to have their hearing checked annually. p r e S c h o o l  ac t i v i t i e S support hearing ›   use task-centered talking to describe activities as  children go about their daily routine. use simple  sentences for younger children; expand and make  the sentences more complex using descriptive  vocabulary as children grow. ›   use tone and pitch to express feelings. d e v e l o p M e n t   o F   t h e   S e n S e S   19 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL